How is Greater Manchester’s transport and infrastructure set to change in the next 12 months?

Thursday, 12th September 2019

Guest blog by Adam Richmond, Director at CPC Project Services and Transport & Infrastructure committee chair. 

As the latest pro-manchester transport and infrastructure networking event pulls into view, the arrival of HS2 seems to be slipping further away with the announcement of the Oakervee review due to report before Christmas.

I won’t pretend that these delays aren’t disappointing – there is huge support here in the north for HS2 and the radical rebalancing of the UK’s economic geography that it could bring – but it isn’t too much of a surprise either, and sometimes, when the stakes are this high, it can be better to delay and get it right than to rush ahead.

After all, HS2 looks to replicate the longevity of the Victorian rail infrastructure that has stood up for close to 200 years. That’s the standard we are aiming at.

And while massive investments like HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail cast a long shadow, we shouldn’t let them hide from view the very many other initiatives that are contributing to the extraordinary growth and energy of Manchester in the meantime.

The pro-manchester Transport and Infrastructure lunch will be hearing from the Manchester Airports Group about the £1 billion investment that makes up the Manchester Airport Investment Programme, including progress on the Terminal 2 development and the continuing growth of the Airport City area and what all that means for Manchester’s future prosperity.

Highways England will be there to update us on very welcome coming upgrades to the road network, while rail in all its varieties will be very strongly represented with Network Rail discussing the Great North Rail Project and investment in improving trans-Pennine links, Transport Greater Manchester providing the latest on the Trafford Park Metrolink extension and Arriva Northern preparing for some frank questions about their franchise commitments and their plans to finally retire pacer trains and replenish the line with new rolling stock.

In fact, just about every mode of transport you can think of will have a place at the table. Except, perhaps, boats. Walking and cycling will be represented by TfGM’s plans for a new Greater Manchester network designed, among other things, to get people moving, reduce emissions and help clean our air. Which is, of course, what Clean Air Zones are designed to do, too, and we will be taking a good look at what CAZs will mean for local businesses.

The social and community implications of transport planning won’t be neglected either, with some challenging ideas being raised by TfGM about how we can better plan our cities, looking at the ‘streets for all’ concept.

The obstacles to such innovative approaches, both economic and political, are high, of course, but that is always the way. Real change is risky. It requires vision and courage. That’s why the pro-manchester T&I lunch matters so much, by bringing together the people who can make changes we start the conversations that to break down those barriers and make the future happen.

Join Adam as well as leaders in transport from across the city at our Transport Lunch on Thursday 10th October. Book now.