Trans-Pennine Tunnel to ‘benefit the whole country’, according to Sheffield City Region businesses
Posted by Nick Hill on 11 Jan 2017
Businesses in the Sheffield City Region have called for one regional voice to support the proposed Trans-Pennine Tunnel.
A transport link from the M60 to the M1 would better connect Manchester to Sheffield, and boost the the business economy in the North.
At a recent event, over 100 business leaders met to hear the results of the Sheffield City Region Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) for the fourth quarter of 2016. A debate on the feasibility of the proposed Trans-Pennine Tunnel also took place.
Prof. Andrew Simpson, University of Sheffield Management School, presented the survey results for Q4 which showed the Sheffield City Region is coping well despite the uncertain economic climate.
Out of the 300 businesses which completed the survey, over half said a road and rail Trans-Pennine Tunnel, followed by just a road, would bring the best economic return for the region.
Keynote speaker, Dr. Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce highlighted that the QES is the most significant business survey in the UK that national decision-makers listen to and act on.
He stated that now is the time for the business community to push for big infrastructure projects as the national government believes that infrastructure is one of the keys to the UK’s success post-Brexit.
Dr Marshall said: “The QES creates impact and traction with national decision-makers and City regions working closely with local business is the key to success. Yorkshire must display a unity of purpose to get the vital investment it needs.”
The panellists agreed during a debate about the feasibility of the tunnel and its potential economic and infrastructural benefits for the regions. Darren Oldham, study lead for the Trans-Pennine Tunnel Study Team, said: “A new Trans-Pennine Tunnel would benefit the whole country so everyone needs to back it.”
Clive Watkinson of JC Snell, agreed that the Trans-Pennine links will be between the M1 and M60, and will be beneficial not just for the Sheffield City Region and Manchester but for both North and South. Tony Hickton of Hickton Consultants also backed this claim.
However Peter Kennan of Hawsons Chartered Accountants urged that there needs to be one regional voice to get the best economic result for the region.
Mr Oldham proposed the new tunnel would need to keep up with changing modes of transport over the next 150 years, but others said it was paramount that it meet today’s needs immediately.
The panel debate was chaired by Greg Wright, the deputy business editor of The Yorkshire Post.
Using the results of the Q4 2016 Sheffield City Region QES and the debate, the Sheffield City Region Chambers and member businesses will continue to work with the Local Enterprise Partnership and other stakeholders for better connectivity through improved infrastructure to improve the business and economic climate.
The survey, run by the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), four Chambers of Commerce and Sheffield University Management School, influences local, regional and national governments and decision-makers as well as helps shape the support structures available to the local business community.