To provide an update on the proposed structure and principles to underpin the development of our second Strategic Transport Plan.
Lead: Lucy Jacques
5.1 Members received the report and the presentation from the Acting Head of Policy and Strategy.
5.2 Cllr Fenton welcomed the liaison that has taken place with local authorities to date, however expressed concern that only 18 out of the 20 Local Transport Authorities had received one to one sessions and asked for confirmation that the remaining two will be engaged with.
5.3 Cllr Jones suggested that any big government priorities including air quality and pollution as well as climate be linked into everything throughout the document.
5.4 The Chair suggested that a Communications Strategy should be considered as well as requesting that a short term date be set with a suggestion of 2030./He also highlighted the importance of engaging with the energy networks as if this doesn’t take place then TfN will be unaware as to whether they are going to be able to deliver on what is being proposed.
5.5 In response to Members comments and questions the Acting Head of Policy and Strategy explained that meetings had taken place with 19 out of 22 partners and everything possible had been done to try and engage with the other three and all efforts are being made to try and engage with them.
In relation to the comments from Cllr Jones she explained that Government priorities such as Brexit, net zero, Levelling Up, climate change and the Integrated Rail Plan would all be considered. On the question relating to a short term date of 2030, she suggested that this could be something discussed with Board later in the month. She stated that a systems based approach is needed to deliver on STP2 with a wider engagement beyond transport as well as engaging other Government departments and not just the DFT.
5.6 The Interim Strategy and Programme Director explained that TfN needs to be strong on the long term vision and actions to be delivered over next 5-10 years particularly those on carbon. He also stated the need to be clear on the uncertainty being faced post covid on the recovery and the future of travel demand.
5.7 Members expressed their concerns on the scrapping of the Golborne Link. The Committee believed that TfN should have been advised about this prior to it being published on the website and requested that any consultation and discussion on alternatives be brought back to Scrutiny.
5.8 Cllr Fletcher enquired if STP2 will slow down some of the rail projects already underway to resolve the capacity issues that areas of the North are experiencing. He requested assurance that there would be no delays on proposals that are being developed. He also requested that the Committee be kept updated on projects that are about to be started in order that the Committee is aware of what is happening where and when.
5.9 Cllr Hughes stated the need for a reliable transport network in the North, and specifically highlighted the poor health of the rail network. He suggested that the Committee should be scrutinising the failing rail system in the North and suggested that extra meetings be held in order to do so.
5.10 In summing up Members comments the Chair emphasised the importance of TfN communicating what is going on to Members. He also highlighted the need for the Government to inform TfN of changes to agreed plans before being put on the Website.
5.11 On the issue of the Golborne Link the Interim Strategy and Programme Director explained that alternatives to it have been muted and until the announcement last week it was in hybrid 2b bill. He stated that the alternatives have not yet been seen and TfN are trying to understand the development of the alternatives and the timescales for delivering them. /He stated that the main priorities are to put the sponsorship arrangements in place how long term outcomes are going to be delivered. /He then highlighted the opportunities that the creation of GBR will provide by bringing together the thinking around rail infrastructure and services./He assured the Committee that the Strategic Transport Plan will be developed alongside all the work that will be done in conjunction with the Department, Network Rail and the GBR Transition Team on making sure existing schemes are delivered and where possible accelerated as well as making the case for the next phase of investment.
5.12 The Chief Executive explained that the Rail North Committee have the issues that the Committee discussed on their agenda. He stated that TfN have been instrumental in advocating the need for the blueprint with the Rail North Committee championing this. He explained that there has been a lot of work going on with the Manchester Recovery Taskforce and this is being reported to the Committee. The Committee were informed of the regular communication that goes out to Rail North Committee Members.
5.13 The Chair requested that the fortnightly communications that are circulated to the Rail North Committee also be sent to Members of the Scrutiny Committee as well.
1) That the report be noted.
2) That the Committees comments on the proposed structure for STP2 be noted.
3) That the Committees comments on the principles outlined in section 4 of this report be noted.