Transport for the North (TfN) is a statutory body whose main purpose is to devise an over-arching transport agenda for the whole of the North of England. It does not itself apply for planning permissions or commission, fund or oversee the delivery of infrastructure projects.  Its role is to try to thread together the individual aspirations of combined and local planning and highways authorities, National Highways, rail and bus companies and the freight and logistics industries into a comprehensive strategy.  

During the summer of 2023 TfN has been consulting on a draft version of its second Strategic Transport Plan. Friends of the Lake District, together with CPRE Lancashire, Liverpool City Region & Greater Manchester and CPRE Cheshire (which together make up the North West Regional Group of CPRE) made a joint response to it.    

The plan contained contradictions which, on the one hand utilises some fine phrases such as ‘enabling modal shift away from car dependency’ but on the other, supports a massive road building programme, (that is not set out in the main consultation document), encourages the expansion of airports and is accepting of further expansion of logistics centres and road freight.

Aspirations for increasing rail freight and public transport use are too low and the environment and social issues are seen as very much secondary to achieving economic growth. Most concerning of all was the totally inadequate approach to the climate change crisis and to issues such as poor air quality. 

We have called for greater use of digital technology to help to reduce the need to travel, a reassessment of infrastructure schemes in the light of climate change as the Welsh Government has done (, a greater emphasis on the health of northern populations in terms of their being able to breathe clean air and more emphasis on reliable journey times by rail and road rather than on the speed of journeys – in keeping with the expressed desire of the travelling public. Their priorities in survey after survey are for better maintained roads and predictable journey times that allow them to plan their days better.    

Our detailed response, as set out in TfN’s pro forma, can be viewed / downloaded here