Mayor calls for clarity on new Integrated Rail Plan information

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, has today (Tuesday 25 January 2022) called for further clarity from the Department for Transport after they released further data in support of the Integrated Rail Plan published at the end of 2021.

West Yorkshire Mayor calls for clarity on new Integrated Rail Plan information. 

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, has today (Tuesday 25 January 2022) called for further clarity from the Department for Transport after they released further data in support of the Integrated Rail Plan published at the end of 2021.

The eastern leg of High Speed 2 to Leeds, as well as a new high-speed line between Leeds and Manchester via central Bradford, were not included in the plan. The Mayor had called for the technical data underpinning that decision to be published given the significant impact it will have for the region.

Now it has been published, this new evidence released overnight by the DfT shows a lack of detail on future rail services and a lack of understanding of the wider economic benefits that the full Northern Powerhouse Rail line and High Speed 2’s eastern leg would bring to West Yorkshire passengers and businesses.

Following today’s Transport for the North Board meeting, Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin said:

“West Yorkshire has strong ambitions for growth, and to achieve it we need a reliable and efficient transport system, both in the region and from our region to others - the IRP simply does not provide this.

“Of the £96bn committed to the Integrated Rail Plan, only around £7bn will be spent in West Yorkshire - and £6bn of this is on the TransPennine Route Upgrade, which has been promised for more than a decade.

“One of the points we raised in our submission to the Select Committee – and which I will reiterate when I attend the Committee in person next month – was the lack of published technical data to support IRP decision making. So it's disappointing that the IRP supporting documents were only published late last night, two months after the report itself and after the deadline for written submissions to the Select Committee.

“Investment in our region’s rail network would bring jobs to Bradford, as well as connecting it to a fast main rail line for the first time. The environmental impact in taking freight off our roads and on to our railways would be huge, and there would be other business and leisure opportunities that would be opened up for people across the North.

“I’m therefore dismayed to see that the Government has only looked at the absolute cost of transport spending and not the wider social and economic benefits a high-quality integrated rail network would bring. What is ‘levelling up’ if it’s not about bettering the lives of our communities?

“Cutting off West Yorkshire from the high-speed network isn’t just incredibly disappointing, it’s also incredibly short sighted.

“And there’s still no detail on expected services. With the best engineering in the world, it’s likely that faster services between Leeds and Manchester or Leeds and Bradford may mean reductions in stopping services to places like Dewsbury, Batley and Pudsey, all of which are employment areas in their own right as well as allowing people to commute to work in Leeds, Huddersfield or Manchester. We must not forget the hopes and aspirations of those who live in our towns and villages.

“At today’s Transport for the North Board I asked if TfN’s analysis of the DfT’s evidence can be submitted to next month’s Transport Select Committee at Westminster. It’s vital that MPs across all parties understand that this Government’s plans fail to deliver for people in West Yorkshire and across the North of England.”

Watch the TFN Board meeting

Cutting off West Yorkshire from the high-speed network isn’t just incredibly disappointing, it’s also incredibly short sighted.

Tracy Brabin Mayor of West Yorkshire

What is ‘levelling up’ if it’s not about bettering the lives of our communities?

"And there’s still no detail on expected services. With the best engineering in the world, it’s likely that faster services between Leeds and Manchester or Leeds and Bradford may mean reductions in stopping services to places like Dewsbury, Batley and Pudsey, all of which are employment areas in their own right as well as allowing people to commute to work in Leeds, Huddersfield or Manchester. We must not forget the hopes and aspirations of those who live in our towns and villages.

At today’s Transport for the North Board I asked if TfN’s analysis of the DfT’s evidence can be submitted to next month Transport Select Committee at Westminster. It’s vital that MPs across all parties understand that this Government’s plans fail to deliver for people in West Yorkshire and across the North of England.”

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