19010Richard Threlfall, Chair of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Northern Powerhouse Steering Group, said:

“This report takes the Northern Powerhouse another step towards reality. The analysis the Commission has undertaken showing how poor connectivity between the North’s major cities is constraining growth is particularly welcome and underpins the need for a step-change in investment in the North.

“The Commission is also right to stress importance of Transport for the North developing an integrated plan, and taking decisions today which are consistent with the long-term vision, however we would like to see this plan – which underpins the Northern Powerhouse delivery – developed much sooner than the end of 2017.”

Commenting on the North’s rail and road networks, Threlfall added:

“Rapidly growing passenger numbers, overcrowding approaching the levels of London commuter routes and an average trans-Pennine rail speed of less than 50mph all support the need for ‘HS3’. The Commission’s support for developing HS3 is encouraging, but we would like to see more ambition. Transformational change requires bold thinking, including an entirely new dedicated high-speed line, and a door-to-door journey between the centres of Leeds and Manchester quicker than the currently proposed 30 minutes.