Agenda and minutes

Transport for the North Board - Thursday, 14th December, 2023 10.30 am

Venue: The Hacienda Suite, Holiday Inn, Manchester City Centre, 25 Aytoun Street, Manchester, M1 3AE

Contact: Gary Rich 


No. Item


Welcome & Apologies

The Chair to welcome Members and the public to the meeting.

Lead: Chair

Additional documents:


1.1          The Chair welcomed Members and apologies were received from Mayor Driscoll, Cllrs Kemp, Duncan, Rollo, Swinburn, Lynn Williams, Browne, Swarbrick, Scott Smith, Tom Smith as well as Helen Simpson, Alex Batey, Alyson Armett, Justin Kelly and John Hall.

1.2          The Chair welcomed Ms. Emma Ward the Director General of Roads and Local Transport from the DfT.  He also noted that he had received written comments from Mayor Driscoll in relation to the papers before the meeting.


Declarations of Interest

Members are required to declare any personal, prejudicial or disclosable pecuniary interest they may have relating to items on the agenda and state the nature of such interest.

Lead: Chair

Additional documents:


2.1          There were no additional Declarations of Interest.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 98 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 27 September 2023 and to consider the matters arising update and the Quarterly Operating Report.

Lead: Chair and Martin Tugwell

Additional documents:


3.1           The minutes of the meeting of the Transport for the North Board held on 27 September 2023 were considered.

3.2          Members received at the same time a written update on matters arising (including a copy of the Quarterly Operating Report) from the Chief Executive.  The Chief Executive noted that at the last meeting, Board had agreed its response on Ticket Office closure proposals put forward by the train operators, which the Government has subsequently instructed operators to stop. He noted that there are on-going conversations through the Rail North Committee on opportunities to redefine the role of stations in their communities through the ‘Stations as a Place’ initiative promoted by Northern. He also noted that the new statutory advice on rail issues in and around Manchester/Stockport, which was signed off at the previous meeting was even more relevant given the decision to cancel HS2 phases 2a and 2b.   

Members were informed that there will be a substantive item on buses at the next meeting and their attention drawn to the current position on the proposals for the major road network set out in the note. He then informed Board that the next TfN Conference will take place on the 5 February 2024 in Liverpool. Members will be receiving further information about this shortly.

3.3          Mayor Brabin requested that the minutes of the previous meeting recorded her contribution to the discussion on the future of HS2: specifically, the concern she expressed about the impact that cancelling later phases of HS2 would have for the North as a whole, and her concern about the lack of progress with identifying a long-term solution Leeds Station. The meeting agreed to so amend the minutes.

3.4          Cllr Hughes raised, in the context of the Government’s Network North announcement, the issue of the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) and requested clarity on whether this would be an annual award, as working in this way hinders forward planning.

3.5          Cllr Mundry raised his concern that the North had lost out on funding following the cancellation of HS2 Phases 2a and 2b. Additionally, he emphasised the importance of having mechanisms put in place to monitor progress with how the money is being spent.

He also requested that the Western link in Warrington be included in future thinking on investment priorities.

The Chair agreed that progress in delivering commitments set out in the Network North document need to be monitored.

3.6          The Chair welcomed Ms Ward and expressed TfN’s eagerness to work with the Department to get the best deal for North following publication of the Network North document. He stated that the conference announcement had given rise to widespread concerns across the North of England. 

3.7          On the issue of HS2 Ms Ward recognised that the decision taken on this would not be one that everyone on the TfN Board would support. She was keen that the TfN Board and the Department explore collaboratively how the opportunities presented in the Network North proposals can be grasped. 

Addressing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Transforming the North pdf icon PDF 151 KB

To consider the implications of the Government’s recent policy statement ‘Network North’ in the context provided by Transport for the North’s role as to prepare and publish the Strategic Transport Plan.

Lead: Martin Tugwell

Additional documents:


4.1          Members received the report of the Chief Executive who outlined the key aspects of the report, noting in the process that the preceding discussion had highlighted areas of concern that were themselves captured in the covering paper.

4.2          Mr Roy Newton raised the issue of constraints on the West Coast Main Line that will not be addressed because of the cancellation of HS2 north of Birmingham. He stated that work being undertaken by partners in the wider Crewe sub-region should not be taken in  isolation but coordinated as part of the wider commitment to level up the North. In this he requested TfN’s help with this as local partners develop their proposals.

He welcomed TfN’s support in seeking additional funding to enable partners to examine the implications of the cancellation of HS2 and what it means in terms of alternatives for local transport. 

The Chair highlighted the work being commissioned by Mayors Burnham and Street which will have an impact for the Cheshire area and stated that TfN would monitor progress with it.

4.3          Mr Rawstron stated that urgency is needed in getting the clarification on the strategic issues identified in the covering paper, emphasising that cancellation of HS2 north of Birmingham has led to private sector investment being put on hold. He highlighted that in order for additional private sector investment to be unlocked there needs to be clarity provided as a matter of some urgency. 

4.4          Given the extensive discussion under the preceding item and the extent to which it had considered items set out in the covering paper for this item, the Chair moved the recommendations before the meeting.


1)   That Board approves the following advice to the Secretary of State:


i)            Until such time as an alternative set of proposal(s) for improved connectivity and capacity between the North and the Midlands has been identified, safeguarding associated with HS2 should remain in place;


ii)          Where there is agreement with the relevant local transport authority(ies) that it is appropriate, the safeguarding associated with HS2 should be lifted at the earliest opportunity;


iii)         Where funding is allocated through Network North this should be ring fenced for transport purposes, and authorities should be allowed to manage allocations as a programme of investment;


iv)         As the Secretary of State’s statutory partner, the Department for Transport should look to the TfN Board to provide oversight and leadership in co-ordinating activities of pan-regional significance arising out of the Network North document.

2)   That to improve efficiency of delivery, Board approves that TfN should work with the Department for Transport, the National Infrastructure Commission and other Government Departments, to build on TfN’s existing analytical capability to develop a Northern Appraisal Framework: one that whilst consistent with the requirements of HMT, better reflects the situation in the North.

3)   That Board approves the publication of the revised Strategic Transport Plan at the earliest opportunity, to ensure that the statutory framework within which specific proposals, including those identified through the Network North  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Strategic Transport Plan Update pdf icon PDF 107 KB

To consider the update on the development of the second Strategic Transport Plan (STP), and the revised timescale for adoption given recent government announcements.

Lead: Katie Day

Additional documents:


5.1          Members received the report from the Director of Strategy, Analysis and Communications who outlined the key points of her report.


1)   That Board endorses the decision to defer the adoption of the STP (until March 2024) to enable us to work with our partners to fully consider the implications of the Network North announcement.

2)   That Board notes the work to date to amend the document post consultation.


Strategic Transport Plan Implementation pdf icon PDF 116 KB

To consider the update on the development of advice to Government focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of implementation of the Strategic Transport Plan.

Lead: Katie Day

Additional documents:


6.1          Members received the report from the Director of Strategy, Analysis and Communications who outlined the key points of her report.

6.2          Mayor Brabin highlighted the importance of having figures included in the report that illustrate the level of investment needed in the North. In this context she emphasised the need for the STP to be strengthened by setting out an investment programme for the North that can be used to frame the Board’s advice on pan-regional investment priorities.

6.3          Cllr Mundry emphasised the importance of continuing to speak with one voice and have one vision for the North: a view that was endorsed by the meeting. 

6.4          In response to Mayor Brabin’s comments the Chief Executive noted that there will be a spending review in the near future and that this is a good time to have the evidence base to illustrate what is needed to deliver outcomes relating to the economy, environment and societal benefits.


1)   That Board supports the development of advice focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of implementation;


2)   That Board’s comments be noted on the proposal to focus TfN’s advice around the themes of:

i)            System Reform


ii)          The role of TfN in enabling and supporting implementation


iii)         The development of a strategic (pan-regional) infrastructure pipeline.



Rail North Committee Update pdf icon PDF 101 KB

To consider the update following the Rail North Committee on 14 November, including the proposed change to the East Coast Main Line timetable.

Lead: Darren Oldham

Additional documents:


7.1          Members received the report from the Rail and Road Director who outlined the key points of his report, highlighting in particular the discussions and subsequent actions following the Committee’s consideration of the proposed East Coast Main Line (ECML) timetable change. He set out to the Board that – given the timescales involved – the RNC had resolved to ask this meeting to consider and agree TfN’s position on the proposal.

7.2          Cllr Gannon informed the Board that following the Rail North Committee he had presented the ECML proposals to the North East Joint Transport Committee and it was the unanimous view of the seven authorities that they did not wish to endorse the timetable changes. He explained that the decision not to electrify the Leamside line in the 1980s has caused a capacity issue on the ECML line which is constraining the area economically and socially.  He added his concern that whilst there is currently no direct TPE service to Manchester, when TPE is able to start running a service he remained concerned that the lack of capacity on the ECML would not allow for it to be reintroduced.

He highlighted the benefits to both the North East and the UK as a whole of additional pan-regional services.  He highlighted that in the letter from the Rail Minister to TfN (which had been circulated to the Board shortly prior to the meeting), a commitment was provided that interventions would begin to be put in place by 2027 subject to business case approvals and budgets. As a result of these reassurances and the benefits the timetable change will provide to the rest of the country, Cllr Gannon stated he would support the motion being put forward. In doing so he requested that the rest of the Board continue to support the North East on this matter by ensuring that the commitments made by the Rail Minister were delivered.

7.3          Mr Rob Mcintosh explained that in 2021 Network Rail had concluded investing £1.2 billion elsewhere along the ECML corridor. He went on to set out how the proposed timetable change would enable the benefits of that investment to be realised by passengers along the corridor, in particular residents of the North. Additionally, he set out how the Department is funding Network Rail to progress the work to deliver the seventh path  north of York, which is an important step in enabling improved pan-regional connectivity. In this regard the 2024 timetable is an interim step to further investment on the East Coast Mainline. 

Mr Nick Bisson added that the Department is required to have a long-term plan of rail enhancements (the Rail Network Enhancement Programme (RNEP)) and he confirmed that the money required to deliver further improvements north of York has already been earmarked within the RNEP, subject to the completion of the development piece and business case.  

7.4          Mayor Brabin sought clarification on the implications of the timetable for services to/from Bradford Foster Square, citing the importance of direct routes between  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Governance Update pdf icon PDF 84 KB

To consider matters relating to the membership of the Audit and Governance Committee.

Lead: Julie Openshaw

Additional documents:


8.1          Members received the report from the Head of Legal who then outlined the key parts of the report.


1)   That Board approves the extension of Kevin Brady’s term of office as an Independent Member of Audit and Governance Committee  from 31 March 2024 until 30 September 2024.


2)   That Board approves the extension of Graham Bell’s term of office as an Independent Member of Audit and Governance Committee  from September 2021 until 30 April 2025.


3)   That Board approves the appointment of Stuart Green as an Independent Member of Audit and Governance Committee with effect from 1 October 2024.



Date and Time of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on 20 March 2024, 10.30am, Hilton City Leeds.

Additional documents:


20 March 2024


Leeds Hilton City