Major transport investment for Midlands

14 March 2017

We're backing a long-term plan to help boost the economy by improving road and rail links in the Midlands.

The Midlands Connect partnership featuring more than 40 organisations including us has proposed a 25 year programme of investment in major transport improvements to help fire up the Midlands Engine − a Government initiative to help drive the UK economy by maximising the Midlands' potential as Britain's manufacturing heartland.

Our Leader Councillor Anne Western said:

"Derbyshire is an integral part of the Midlands Engine and Midlands Connect. Our central position on the UK map makes our road and rail links vital to keeping the cogs of British business turning.

"Whether it's receiving parts, exporting goods or getting the workforce from A to B, businesses up and down the country rely on our transport infrastructure and Midlands Connect sets out a clear plan to make sure our roads and railways can fire the Midland Engine for generations to come.

"This is a pivotal moment in the development of economic activity in the northern half of the country and we're looking forward to working alongside our counterparts at Transport for the North and in the Northern Powerhouse to push this forward."

An initial three year programme of planning and design work using Government funding was unveiled today as part of the Midlands Connect strategy 'Powering the Midlands Engine' which includes the following key early priorities:

  • A package of improvements along the A52 corridor between Derby and Nottingham including access to the East Midlands HS2 Hub Station at Toton and East Midlands Airport - to be delivered by the end of the 2020's as a critical part of improving east-west connectivity.

  • A series of improvements to help relieve traffic pressures across the heart of the midlands motorway network, including the future roles of the A42 and A5 corridors in improving east and west links.

  • Over-arching all the projects is an ambition to increase 'intelligent connectivity' across the Midlands. This could involve smart and digital travel applications as well as trials for connected passenger and freight autonomous vehicles.

  • The 'Midlands Rail Hub', which will help release an extra 85,000 train seats across the network every day and allow ten extra trains an hour through central Birmingham − currently a key bottleneck limiting east-west rail movements. Midlands Connect also welcomes the Midlands Mainline upgrade and electrification between Bedford and Sheffield.

Councillor Western added:

"Every area of the Midlands has signed up to Midlands Connect and recognises the schemes chosen will bring the most benefit to the region's economy as a whole − even if there isn't a project happening on the ground specifically in a particular area.

"The investment programme is expected to unleash economic growth across the Midlands boosting the regional economy by £5bn, helping to rebalance the national economy and helping to achieve the Midlands Engine target of creating 300,000 new jobs."

Further details about the strategy can be found at Midlands Connect (opens in a new window)