Could New Transport Networks Help Recovery Post COVID-19?

New proposals suggest that the funding of major connectivity and transport networks across the North of England could help the region – and the rest of the UK – to recover from coronavirus (COVID-19) moving forwards.

There are five proposals set out by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, which it believes will help the government to rebalance our economy:

  • Building new railways and roads: Shovel-ready projects to create and secure jobs and cut carbon emissions in the longer term. Specifically, accelerate elements of High Speed North, such as Leeds to Newcastle and Sheffield to Manchester, as well as starting on new lines between Leeds and Manchester/Liverpool where possible.
  • Providing faster broadband to every household: Full-fibre broadband to the premises should be accelerated for left-behind towns alongside wider roll-out of 5G networks and availability.
  • Green energy jobs: Roll-out of a small modular reactor factory-based building programme, establishment of at least one carbon-capture and storage cluster in Northern Powerhouse and expansion of jobs in wind, tidal and battery storage supply chains for major schemes.
  • Providing training for those who have lost their jobs or left school during the coronavirus lockdown: Devolve all of skills funding to existing mayors alongside accelerating devolution to areas in the North that are still waiting for it.
  • Providing extra teaching for children who have fallen behind in school work during the crisis: Initial £300 million of funding across in England in addition to better targeting projected higher pupil premium spend next year from free school meal entitlement.

The partnership says a YouGov poll of 1,767 people across the North (carried out between 5 and 11 May) shows that the public support the proposals, as do UK businesses. According to the poll, respondents support greater devolution, around one in two want to see investment in roads, rail and fibre broadband, and eight in ten wish to see training and education funding boosted.

“The Northern Powerhouse is an economic vision to increase the contribution the North makes to the UK economy. Never has that been more relevant than now as we attempt to emerge from this terrible pandemic.

“Our proposals set out five practical, deliverable investments that the government could embrace to allow the UK economy to grow again, creating jobs in new, green industries and help to transform the productivity of the North.”

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

How can ethical partnership help?

At ethical partnership we are working increasingly on projects such as new rail stations and refurbishment of existing stations, logistics hubs, and on the planning aspects of road developments. As an environmentally-conscious organisation, we seek to do so in a way that means the public will benefit from these projects, with as little environmental harm as possible. 

We have a track record of researching the ways in which new technologies can be integrated to minimise pollution and energy usage. We hope to work more on projects that enable us to fully utilise the benefits of renewable energy, in turn helping to protect the environment. We are excited to follow the development of these proposals and see whether improved transport networks will help recovery post COVID-19.

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