Network Rail has today made bold claims to “improve the lives of millions of people in the North” as it reveals its strategy for the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU).
Key elements of the strategy include:
- cutting railway carbon emissions, equivalent to taking six million cars off the road for a year
- creating and maintaining thousands of jobs for local people
- providing tens of thousands of opportunities for new entrants to the industry and young people
- delivering more than £4bn in social value and £4bn more in wellbeing
The programme will deliver major upgrades between Manchester and York, including electrifying the seventy-mile route. It aims to transform journeys across the North of England, and improve connections between the region's towns and cities by running more frequent, faster, greener trains, on a cleaner and more reliable railway.
The programme's new sustainability strategy is titled ‘Our Guiding Compass', and outlines its commitments to delivering environmental benefits, social value and employment opportunities.
It will also significantly cut carbon emissions by minimising negative environmental impacts during construction and enhancing the natural environment surrounding the route.
The upgrade will create four thousand new roles during construction with 60% of the workforce employed from within twenty-five miles of the route and 80% within forty miles. One fifth will be from underrepresented groups to create a diverse team to reflect the communities on the Transpennine route.
The railway programme has calculated the impact of its sustainable development activities to £4.28bn in social value and an estimated £4.9bn in wellbeing impact. This was calculated using the Rail Social Value Tool, an online tool developed specifically for the UK rail industry in line with HM Treasury Green Book Principles, to conduct valuations of the social value generated for individuals and society. It also uses the ‘WELLBY Assessment', which estimates the impact of the change to wellbeing by calculating the amount of additional income a person would need to receive to then experience the same change in wellbeing.
The TRU has also carried out the more traditional programme economic impact assessments.
Network Rail promises that the TRU will bring passengers:
- more trains and more seats: more trains between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York with up to six fast services every hour between Leeds and Manchester and up to two stopping services for local connectivity
- faster journeys: the fastest journey times are forecast to be 63-66 minutes between Manchester and York and 41-42 minutes between Manchester and Leeds
- more reliable journeys with trains that run on time
- better, more accessible stations across the Transpennine route
Having already pledged to take on one apprentice for every £4m spent, TRU now also promises to provide work opportunities for people across the North through:
- creating 4,000 new opportunities and safeguarding 4,000 jobs during construction
- employing 590 apprentices of all ages, levels and backgrounds.
- delivering over 30,000 placement days to support new entrants joining the industry, pre-employment, transitioning and upskilling of which a minimum of 20% will be from underrepresented groups.
- making sure 60% of the project workforce are employed from within twenty-five miles of the route and 80% within forty miles
- ensuring a minimum of 25% of project supply chain spend will be with local businesses within 25 miles of the route
- placing a minimum of one-third of project supply chain spend with small, medium sized enterprises, micro business and voluntary sector organisations
- engaging with over 100,000 young people through an inclusive education programme.
TRU's sustainability strategy will deliver environmental benefits by:
- recycling 90% of construction waste
- diverting 99% of all non-hazardous materials from landfill
- increasing biodiversity by ten per cent
- saving six million tonnes of CO2e over the sixty years following completion
The £4.28bn delivered in social value includes:
- up to £715m from buying goods and services from local business within a twenty-five-mile radius
- up to £1.6bn from creating and safeguarding jobs and employing local people
- up to £29m through employing apprenticeships
- up to £338m through engaging students in inclusive education and routes into rail
- up to £1.5bn through reducing operational carbon by electrifying the route and shifting away from cars on the road
The value delivered in wellbeing is estimated at £4.9bn, calculated using a cutting edge ‘WELLBY Assessment'. This includes:
- better connectivity improving job satisfaction when people can access better employment opportunities, worth £2.8bn
- generating greater satisfaction with neighbourhoods, as better access to tourism and less noise generates £893m in value
- new access to better active travel is expected to generate £156m in value
- £1.3bn through reduced air pollution
- £617m in value through the shift in travel away from cars towards more environmentally friendly options
Rail Minister Huw Merriman said:“Sustainability is at the heart of the Transpennine Route upgrade – delivering faster and more reliable electrified services in the North in a way that's also better for our environment.“I welcome the launch of today's strategy and am proud to see the transformational benefits of the upgrade coming to life by creating new jobs and opportunities while slashing carbon emissions across the region.”
Anna Humphries, Head of Sustainability and Social Value for the Transpennine Route Upgrade, said:“The Transpennine Route Upgrade's sustainability strategy is clear in our vision for the North of England. We're delivering not just a railway that will be faster, cleaner and provide more seats, but we're putting the sustainability and social value delivery of the programme at the heart of all we do.“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a real impact on the lives of those who live in the North of England and ‘Our Guiding Compass' puts in writing how we intend to do that.”
Rob Warnes, Strategic Development Director at Northern Trains said:“The Transpennine Route Upgrade will be transformative for our customers, enabling us to run greener, faster trains and slash our carbon emissions.”The programme is creating jobs here at Northern, as well as in our supply chain and across the North of England, offering our towns and cities a much-needed economic boost.”
Nicola Martin, Head of Sustainability for TransPennine Express said:“People and the environment are at the heart of Our Guiding Compass. This is so important today, in a world where people are more informed about the pressures on the environment.“The investments being made through the Transpennine Route Upgrade will bring welcome improvements to our rail network and will attract and retain customers who seek to travel in a low carbon way.”