A1 upgrade vital for economy says NECC
The region's road network, the East Coast Mainline and access to the North East's ports and airports must all be improved if the region's economy is to reach its potential, according to a new report from the North East England Chamber of Commerce.
The new report draws on the views of Chamber member businesses from across the region to highlight where investment is needed to provide the North East economy with the infrastructure it needs to succeed.
Among the priorities identified by business are swift completion of planned upgrades to the A1 and A19 and upgrades to the East Coast Mainline to remove capacity constraints on the route.
It also calls for delivery of a new train fleet for the Tyne and Wear Metro; improvements to road and rail access to Newcastle International Airport; and work to unlock capacity for rail freight in the region.
Arlen Pettitt, policy adviser at the North East England Chamber of Commerce, said: “North East England is still feeling the impact of historic underinvestment in our region’s transport infrastructure. Vocal, business-led campaigns – championed by the Chamber – have seen improvements to the A1, the A19 and the region’s rail services, but there is still a long way to go.
“It’s important to keep the pressure on and ensure businesses in the region have the transport infrastructure they need to reach customers, new markets and the talented workforce they need to succeed.”
The launch of the report saw Chamber members from across the region meet at Newcastle International Airport to discuss the importance of transport in their work and the challenges they currently face.
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The session also saw bus operators, rail companies and freight and logistics experts joined by designers, consultants and civil engineers in beginning to identify next steps.
Graeme Mason, chair of the Chamber’s Transport Forum, said: “With the right investment, North East England’s transport infrastructure can become a real enabler of economic success.
“It’s absolutely crucial that we as the business community speak loudly and clearly about our needs across the board. That means championing the causes of road, rail, bus, Metro, ports and the airports – both independently, and as part of a whole which works together to deliver the integrated transport network the North East economy needs.”
This new report follows last week’s launch of the Chamber’s Members’ Manifesto 2017, and outlines in more detail the Chamber’s campaign for a Connected North East.
A copy of the Manifesto is available on https://www.neechamber.co.uk/policy/manifesto