November 16, 2017

England’s Transport for the North to become statutory authority in 2018

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A Northern class 319 EMU. A Northern class 319 EMU. Paul Bigland

THE British government introduced legislation into parliament on November 16 to turn Transport for the North (TfN) into a what it describes as “the first ever statutory sub-national transport body, with legal powers and duties” by April 2018.

TfN, which is a partnership of 19 local authorities, business leaders and 11 local enterprise partnerships in northern England, will be given new powers to:
• produce a statutory transport strategy for the northern England which the government must formally consider when taking funding decisions
• fund organisations to deliver transport projects
• be consulted on rail franchises and work with local authorities to fund, promote and deliver road schemes, and
• introduce smart railway ticketing.

Rail North, an association of local authorities including all the TfN members and Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottingham and Stoke-on-Trent, will also formally become part of TfN and work with the government to co-manage the Northern and Transpennine Express rail franchises.

The government will provide funding of up to £260m to TfN, of which £150m is for smart ticketing, £60m for Northern Powerhouse Rail, and £50m to run TfN. The Department for Transport confirmed the award of £18.5m from the £150m smart ticketing programme to introduce smart card season tickets for Northern, TransPennine Express, and Merseyrail passengers by the end of 2018. The rest of the fund will be used to introduce smart ticketing across public transport in northern England.

“We are committed to the Northern Powerhouse, and to giving the great towns and cities of the north more say over transport investment through their umbrella body TfN,” says Britain’s transport minister Mr Jesse Norman. “TfN will be a game-changer.”

“We are currently working with our partners to finalise the draft strategic transport plan, which will be published for public consultation early next year,” says Mr John Cridland, independent chair of TfN. “This is a 30-year transport strategy for the north that will help drive economic growth in the region and help to rebalance the UK economy.”

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