By better connecting people, businesses and markets within the Midlands, to the rest of the country and beyond, we will support business growth, enhance productivity and build prosperity for our region. With the arrival of HS2, better east-west connectivity, the shifting of freight to rail and more, we aim to transform our transport networks for the benefit of our communities and to underpin economic growth.
Midlands Connect is the transport partner of the Midlands Engine, and the Midlands’ Sub-national Transport Body. We research, develop and recommend long-term transport projects which will provide the biggest possible economic, social and environmental benefits for the Midlands and the rest of the UK.
Our fundamental aim is to transform regional and UK gateways, bringing the Midlands closer together and accelerating cost-effective improvements to unlock east-west connectivity, enabling the Midlands’ economies to work more effectively together. This means examining every option for improving major transport infrastructure in our region.
We see the potential of transport to transform the Midlands’ economy sustainably. Our 25-year transport strategy for the region has the potential to add £5 billion a year to the UK economy, contributing to the Midlands Engine vision of growing the economy by £75 billion.
The power of connectivity to improve lives and boost economies
HS2 will place us at the heart of a brand new network, bringing massive benefits whether you set foot on a high-speed train or not. HS2 creates space on the existing rail network to improve services from dozens of stations, with faster, more frequent commuter trains for millions of rail users.
Midlands Connect is using this once-in-a-generation opportunity to develop Midlands Engine Rail, our £3.5 billion improvement plan to create space for 736 more passenger trains every day, boosting east-west connections from more than 60 stations. Our proposals also have the potential to shift one million lorries’ worth of freight from road to rail every year, cutting carbon emissions and reducing congestion.
East-west connectivity has been historically poor across the Midlands. We are taking a corridor approach to transport improvements so that jobs, housing and the environment are considered together for the first time, and to make sure we’re increasing connectivity for every part of our region, both urban and rural.
Connecting our region with the world
As the UK explores new trading opportunities around the world, these improved road and rail links will increase access to our airports. Birmingham Airport – with more than 13 million passengers in 2017 – will be the country’s first HS2-connected airport, with huge growth potential. East Midlands Airport, already the UK’s largest for dedicated air-freight, has ambitious plans to triple its cargo operation to a million tonnes a year by 2040.
We are driven by the priorities of our partnership of 22 local authorities, nine Local Enterprise Partnerships, East Midlands and Birmingham airports, and chambers of commerce stretching from the Welsh border to the Lincolnshire coast. The partnership also includes the Department for Transport, Network Rail, Highways England and HS2 Ltd, who we work alongside to drive an unprecedented level of collaboration for the good of the Midlands and the UK.
Maria Machancoses is Director of Midlands Connect. For more information contact: MCAdmin@midlandsconnect.uk