Robin Miller-Stott, Senior Strategy Officer at Transport for the North,
attended the Transport-Led Development in Wales conference last month
to discuss the benefits of a better-connected transport network.
In this article he explains why such improvements need to be developed across borders in order to bring the biggest enhancements.
England and Wales share many close links. A football ground that spans the two countries; a passionate rugby rivalry; bilingual road signs; and not to mention a land border that stretches 160 miles.
Yet sometimes our countries, and their people and businesses, seem worlds apart.
Despite the physical connection, cross-border commuting patterns in the North West area are characterised by low inter- and intra-regional movements. With such great employment and growth opportunities for people and businesses on both sides of the line it’s vital that we work together to address this trend, for the good of both our countries.
The opportunities are there, and the potential benefits are significant. The West and Wales Strategic Development Corridor, developed through our Strategic Transport Plan, highlights impressive population and economic growth forecasts over the next three decades, with the potential to support an extra 260,000 jobs and bring an additional £34 billion on top of business as usual. All four of the prime capabilities – digital, energy, health innovation, advanced manufacturing – are strongly represented across economic centres including Chester, Warrington, Crewe, the Liverpool City Region and Deeside, making the West and Wales area a great place to live, work and do business.
We have already seen transport improvements, such as the reopening of the Halton Curve which brought back direct services between North Wales and Liverpool for the first time in 40 years. Crewe Hub station will play an increasingly important role as part of the HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail projects, delivering benefits not only for the West and Wales area but the national rail network too.
This is an excellent start, and these improvements must continue if we are to realise the full transformative goals of easier and more reliable movement of people and goods across our border.
Transport for the North and the Welsh Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this year to set out how we will drive forward our shared vision of a growing and vibrant economy in North Wales and the North of England. Unlocking connectivity, so that people can access high quality jobs with a reliable, accessible and cost-effective commute, and businesses can get their goods and services in the hands of their customers when and where they need them, will unlock this growth.
Through our joined-up working, based on strategic and sustained multi-modal investment programmes, we can make sure transport really works for the people and businesses of North West England and North Wales.
Find out more about the West and Wales Strategic Development Corridor here.
More About Robin Miller-Scott
Robin is a Senior Strategy Officer at Transport for the North (TfN). He has been leading the development of TfN’s flagship policy document, the Strategic Transport Plan. This statutory document sets out the case for inclusive and sustainable transformational growth over the next 30 years. Working closely and collaboratively with local authority Partners across the North, Robin has ensured that it presents a strong, ambitious and compelling case for strategic transport investment.
Robin joined Transport for the North (TfN) in March 2016. Before joining TfN, Robin was a Policy Adviser at High Speed Two (HS2) Limited, providing a sponsorship role between HS2 and the Department for Transport on the Phase Two line of route. Prior to this role, Robin worked with Transport for London as part of the South London Partnership. This involved mediating between TfL and the South London boroughs to help develop and deliver a sub-regional transport plan.