The National Infrastructure’s High Speed North Report focussed on one of the key Northern Powerhouse priorities: rail connectivity between key cities.
The investment in the budget to support the early stages of this and other key highway and rail schemes, to the tune of £300m, whilst not transformational – it will take time to achieve what is needed - is some good news for the consultancy market, with feasibility and initial appraisal for projects as well as design development all required.
Transport for the North’s Spring update published a week after budget showed that they are getting it right and, provided central Government makes good with funding, under the leadership of David Brown will be a key client organisation for major infrastructure projects in the North.
It is not just the infrastructure projects that offer opportunity, the budget included an announcement that Manchester Piccadilly station will be overhauled, and the surrounding area regenerated.
Regeneration of the Leeds South Bank is already emerging well in advance of when the HS2 station is opened in 2033.
Marc Davies was chair of ACE's Northern group.