The ICE hosted the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Infrastructure (APPGI) for a briefing session in early October. The session concentrated on the ICE’s recently published Delivering a Northern Infrastructure Strategy report.
The group, chaired by MP and former transport minister Stephen Hammond discussed the issues highlighted in the report and examined what work could be done in Westminster to empower the metro regions in the North.
ICE Northern Powerhouse chair Richard Threlfall gave an overview of the report before taking questions.
The report was coordinated by the ICE and delivered by an expert steering group. It recommends a clear way forward for planning and delivering high performing infrastructure alongside regional coordination and an ambitious investment programme. Twelve key recommendations outline how well planned, delivered and managed infrastructure has the capacity to unlock the North’s potential, increase productivity and improve quality of life.
Threlfall said that rather than just trying to close the current gap in economic development between the North and the South of England, emphasis should be put on what it would take to make the North a leading area of economic growth in its own right.
For the region to be able to articulate its infrastructure needs in strategic and project terms, strong governance at a pan-northern level is absolutely crucial, he said.
He added that infrastructure projects that are taken forward in the North must be ambitious in terms of technology and their capacity to deliver the best outcomes for users. This should include autonomous and connected vehicles, digitising rail across the region and developing the business case for a Hyperloop system.
Attendees agreed that it was crucial for government at all levels, the public, and businesses to work together and speak with a united voice.
Only an integrated and strategic approach to delivering economic and social infrastructure will enable the creation of a true Northern Powerhouse they said.