ICE welcomes Northern report and calls for bold thinking on high speed rail

ICE Northern Powerhouse Steering Group Chair Richard Threlfall commented that the National Infrastructure Commission’s report into Northern Connectivity takes the Northern Powerhouse another step forward to reality and that bold thinking is needed on high speed rail.

Richard 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 the 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 network, 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."

Notes to editors

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is a leading source of professional expertise in transport, water supply and treatment, flood management, waste and energy. Established in 1818, it has 88,000 members, 25% of whom are based overseas. ICE’s vision is to place civil engineering at the heart of society, delivering sustainable development through knowledge, skills and professional expertise. ICE has long worked with the government of the day to help it to achieve its objectives, and has worked with industry to ensure that construction and civil engineering remain major contributors to the UK economy.