Transport Secretary announces further measures to improve transport connectivity across the UK

Posted on 18 December 2023

Transport Secretary Mark Harper announced that initiatives focusing on road enhancements and railway modernisations will boost business and elevate connectivity throughout the UK, as a response to Lord Hendy’s Union connectivity review.

Ventures in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will explore diverse avenues for enhancing transportation links, strengthening communities and the broader UK, helping to drive tourism and grow the economy.

These initiatives form together to improve UK connectivity and economic progress by providing greater access to skilled labour and opportunities. They will receive substantial long-term backing through government investments, includingNetwork North, which has already pledged £1 billion towards electrifying the North Wales Main Line and making improvements to Scotland's A75.

The government's strategy has created measures to safeguard crucial domestic air routes. A series of evaluations will be conducted to explore ways of enhancing rail travel in Northern Ireland and Wales, as well as road travel in Scotland. Efforts will also be directed towards overall improvements in connectivity between Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England.

Mark Harper, the Transport Secretary, commented on the strategy saying: “We are announcing support for projects that will boost connectivity and enhance transport connections across the UK. These projects will identify schemes that can bring economic benefits to people across the UK.

“I’d like to thank the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive for working collaboratively with us on these projects and I look forward to continuing to work closely with them on improving UK transport connectivity.”

Initiatives across the UK include:

  • Allocation of £8 million to the Scottish Government to initiate the development of options for improving the A75, adding to the funds already committed in Network North for targeted enhancements following the Scottish Government's identification of a preferred option through the business case process.

  • Provision of £3.3 million in funding support toTranslinkto conduct a comprehensive study on the costs, feasibility, and overall value of railway electrification in Northern Ireland from Belfast to the border.

  • Enhancements to domestic aviation route support policy by revising the Public Service Obligation (PSO) policy to encompass routes operating between different regions of the UK, rather than solely focusing on routes into London, ensuring protection for qualifying routes that are at risk of disappearing - a move vital for the social and economic welfare of the respective regions.

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