On 30th June (2020) the Prime Minister announced a review would be undertaken into union connectivity, exploring ways to improve connectivity between our 4 nations and bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects.
I have now published the terms of reference for this independent review. Chaired by Sir Peter Hendy CBE, the review will make recommendations on how the UK government can level up transport infrastructure and improve connectivity between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, boosting access to opportunities and improving people’s everyday connections.
Working closely with the devolved administrations, Sir Peter will look at road, rail, air and sea links, and how they could be improved to fuel the UK’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Sir Peter brings extensive experience and knowledge to the role with over 45 years working in the transport sector – including as Chair of Network Rail and successfully running London’s transport network during the Olympics.
The review will look at how the quality and availability of transport infrastructure between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can support quality of life in communities across the UK while also aiding economic recovery. This will in turn lead to recommendations on whether and how best to improve connections, and whether that includes the need to invest in additional infrastructure by the UK government. Among other things, Sir Peter will look at the feasibility and conduct a detailed initial assessment of options for improved road and rail connections between England and Scotland, and England and Wales, as well as improved air links across the UK.
The review will also look to the future – considering the role of future technologies and assess environmental impacts of current and future infrastructure. Sir Peter will be expected to publish his final recommendations in Summer 2021.
This announcement follows a recent pledge by the UK government to bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects in the devolved nations – working with the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the UK government will identify opportunities for ‘spades in the ground’ ready projects to help build up communities and create jobs quicker for people across the United Kingdom.