Agenda item

Integrated Rail Plan (25 mins)

To consider and approve TfN’s submission to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee: to receive further advice on the implications of the IRP.

Lead: Tim Foster


5.1          Members received the report from the Strategy and Programme Director.

5.2          The Chair informed Members that the Department had published the day before a document setting out the technical evidence that it had used in determining the IRP.   

5.3          The Chief Executive highlighted to the Board that he was proposing an additional recommendation to the report that would confirm his authority to use his delegated powers to enable an orderly transition on those areas of work identified as needing to transfer to the Department for Transport.  He drew the Board’s attention to the fact that he would be engaging with the Department to ensure the roles and rights of staff affected by the transition are protected: this would be secured through the application of TUPE.  He also highlighted that he had received a request from the Department for two secondments and that he was progressing those with a view to enabling them to happen.

5.4          He restated the point made at the previous meeting that the Department has been clear throughout the process that Transport for the North’s role and functions as a statutory Subnational Transport Authority are not affected by the change in NPR working arrangements.

5.5          Before outlining the key points within the report, the Strategy and Programme Director gave Members his initial views on the technical annex released by the DfT.  He explained that the information that had been provided was less detailed than had been anticipated and that TfN would be requesting the Department to confirm whether there is more technical detail that can be shared for a full assessment to take place. 

He explained that the information in the technical evidence had not taken into account the wider economic and social aspects of the investment.  He advised that a more substantive assessment of the technical annex evidence would be provided to Board in March. 

5.6          The Chair asked Members to focus their comments on the draft submission to the Transport Select Committee, a draft of which had been included in the papers and which needed to be submitted in the next couple of days.  She expressed her disappointment at the lack of detail in the information that the DfT had provided and highlighted the fact that the Board’s advice has always been evidence driven.

5.7          Members echoed the disappointment of the Chair at the lack of detail in the information that had been released by the DfT.  A common concern was that decisions had been narrowly focused on costs and that wider considerations of economic, social and environmental benefits had not been taken into account:  Board members observed that this seem to be a missed opportunity given the context of the forthcoming Levelling Up White Paper.  

5.8          Members suggested a number of additions that would strengthen the submission to the Select Committee. The Board stressed the importance of focusing on the need for additional capacity, to accommodate additional demand (both passenger and freight).  On this issue Cllr Hale specifically raised the importance of electrification of the lines into the ports of Hull and Immingham (global gateways for the UK) and how this would help with the decarbonisation agenda.

5.9          Mayor Brabin expressed concern around the potential for timetable conflict that would arise from accelerating some trains, noting that this would have implications for local stopping trains.  She suggested that TfN submit a late paper to the Select Committee that underscores Members concerns: the Chief Executive assured Board members that their concerns could be picked up in the main submission.

5.10       Mayor Jarvis and Mr. Mark Rawstron highlighted the importance of ensuring that TfN’s submission was clear in its key messages.  Mayor Jarvis highlighted the importance of continuing to provide stakeholders across the North of England with considered advice on the key issues.

Mr. Rawstron suggested that within the submission to the Select Committee there should be an Executive Summary.  He also stressed the importance of the submission highlighting the cross-party support of the submission and the support of the business community. He stated that these messages need to be constantly reiterated.   

5.11       Mayor Burnham stated that TfN should encourage the Select Committee to unpick the evidence base on which the IRP decisions had been made and restated the importance of looking at value for money in the round. He emphasised the importance of encouraging the Select Committee to consider the issues of disruption arising from the IRP proposals.  He reminded the Board that they had previously raised the importance of examining the contribution of uplift in land values.

5.12       Cllr Edwards raised the need for clarity on the Co-sponsorship role and encouraged TfN to be proactive in setting out what it sees as being required.  The Chief Executive noted that the paper started to do this and that he was continuing to push for more details so as to be able to bring it to the Board for its consideration.

5.13       Mr. Justin Kelly highlighted that the business community remained concerned about the IRP: in particular he highlighted the importance of seeing improved connectivity as a means of addressing the issue of productivity and being able to move people around so they can easily access their work locations.

5.14       The Chief Executive thanked Members for their input which he explained would be built into the presentation to the Select Committee.

On the Co-Sponsorship role, he highlighted that he had drawn to the Department’s attention the Rail North Partnership model as a positive example of collaborative partnership and how this model can be built upon. 

5.15       Mr. Peter Kennan flagged the importance of ensuring the business voice feeds into TfN’s input as co-sponsor.


The Chief Executive explained that once the principles of the co-sponsorship role had been agreed by both the TfN Board and Ministers then he would look to the General Purposes Committee to consider in more detail how it would fit within TfN’s governance arrangements.


1)   That Board notes the progress outlined in section 3 of the report and the update on transition arrangements and implications in section 4.

2)   That Board agrees the proposed approach to the Transport Select Committee inquiry in section 5, subject to the points raised in discussion.

3)   That Board supports the section on co-sponsorship (section 6) including the principles outlined in Appendix 3 and the CEO’s future vision for TfN (Appendix 4).

That the Board confirms that the Chief Executive has delegated authority to undertake such discussions as required to affect the orderly transition of functions activities and staff in accordance with the requirements of TUPE that arise in consequence of the changes in NPR working arrangements announced by the Department for Transport.

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