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The North’s annual transport conference set to ignite regional transformation discussion


With just one week remaining, anticipation builds for the North's annual transport conference, organised by Transport for the North (TfN). Set to convene at the Hilton Liverpool City Centre on Monday 5 February, this pivotal event will see a gathering of the region's most influential figures in politics, business, and various sectors, all united by a common agenda: to explore the potential unleashed by investing in the North's transport system.


The conference aims to spotlight the long-term transformation of Northern England, a region poised for significant growth and development. The central theme of the event is the pivotal role of enhanced connectivity in fostering economic growth, advancing the decarbonisation of transport, and creating equitable opportunities. TfN's persistent advocacy for investment and change, essential for the North's metamorphosis, will be a focal point of discussion.

Kicking off at 10.30am, the conference promises a rich itinerary, including expert-led presentations, engaging panel discussions, insightful speeches, and debates. These sessions will revolve around the themes emerging from TfN’s revised Strategic Transport Plan and the updated Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review.


The event boasts a distinguished lineup of keynote speakers and delegates, including Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region; Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire; Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester; and Lord Patrick McLoughlin, Chair of Transport for the North. Other notable attendees include Councillor Anne Handley, Leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council; Professor Piers Forster, Interim Chair of the UK Committee on Climate Change; Zoe McLernon, Head of Policy and Advocacy at Great British Railways Transition Team; and Sonya Byers, Chief Executive at Women in Transport, among others.


The Liverpool Echo, as the official media partner, will ensure comprehensive coverage of the conference, highlighting the transformative changes possible through aligned investments in connectivity and other strategic infrastructures and key policy areas, including innovation, economic growth, and health and wellbeing.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Our area has been at the forefront of British transport innovation for centuries and I’m really looking forward to welcoming everyone to our area so they can see for themselves how we are continuing that legacy today.


“Good public transport is the hallmark of any modern society, yet, for far too long, people in the North have been forced to accept a second-class service that simply doesn’t work for them.


“Devolution has given areas like ours the opportunity to chart our own course and demonstrate that we have the vision and ambition to transform public transport for the better. From the half a billion pounds we have invested in our new publicly owned trains and hydrogen buses, which are among the most sophisticated and accessible in the country, to voting to bring our buses back under public control and investing £70m in active travel infrastructure, we are well on our way to building a London-style transport network that’s faster, cheaper, cleaner and better connected.”


Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “Investment in Northern transport can transform our prospects, boost connectivity, and allow people and businesses to thrive. We are stronger together when fighting for the North to get investment and effective long-term planning for the modern transport system we need.


“I’m looking forward to joining fellow leaders to discuss how we can work together to build a better-connected North.”


Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Everybody recognises that our public transport system is not where we want it to be. Across the region transport connectivity is the thing that’s holding us back. We can’t allow this to continue.


“A functioning transport system is the prerequisite for a growing economy if we are to move closer to our goal of an inclusive and accessible transport system fit for the 21st century. Transport for the North’s Annual Conference will once again demonstrate how we, as Northern leaders and Northern people, are speaking together with one voice, to ensure we get what we need to meet the ambitious plans for our businesses and communities.” 


Councillor Anne Handley, Leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council said:

"I'm really looking forward to this year’s Transport for the North conference, where we’ll be exploring how the North can become a global gateway for the UK through our ports and airports.


“I’m also excited to talk about how devolution in Hull and East Yorkshire and the creation of a new mayoral combined authority could help us work together even better across the North. This is all about connecting better and showing the world what we can do. Together we can Transform the North.”


Lord McLoughlin, Chair at Transport for the North, said: “We know there is a huge economic, environmental and social prize for the North that can be achieved through better connectivity and Transport for the North’s Annual Conference is about bringing the region together to enable action to unlock the benefits of an effective, efficient and greener transport system that supports economic growth, and, importantly, helps our people and businesses realise their ambitions. I look forward to welcoming the North’s civic and business leaders to Liverpool, so we can discuss how we transform the North together.”

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