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Council of the North proposed

Council of the North proposed

A 'Council of the North' has been proposed as a means of co-ordinating the Northern Powerhouse project, ensuring visions of better infrastructure and economic growth are turned into reality.

The idea was contained in a report by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), which says such a body should not only have powers to co-ordinate, prioritise and spend budgets, but also to raise revenues and borrow money.

ICE Yorkshire and Humber regional director Penny Marshall, a member of the steering group that wrote the report, said: "This report and the recommendations included are aimed at helping the Northern Powerhouse become not just a national success story but a global leader in economic productivity and quality of life.

"High performing infrastructure is one of the most important elements in providing the foundations for economic prosperity."

The proposal was one of 12 contained in the report, titled Delivering a Northern Infrastructure Strategy.   

Others included a northern infrastructure strategy, a northern spatial plan to co-ordinate infrastructure and more powers for investment and planning at Transport for the North.  

Chair of the Northern Powerhouse Steering Group Richard Threlfall said: "We need to take control of our own destiny, set up the institutions to coordinate a one-North approach and invest in best-in-class infrastructure and skills."

A number of major construction projects are either taking place or will do in the future as part of efforts to build up the infrastructure of the north. These include the Ordsall Chord rail link in central Manchester to link Victoria, Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations for the first time, as well as HS2, which will eventually serve Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds.

Other major projects that could take place in the coming years include HS3, a high-speed rail link from Liverpool to Hull via Manchester and Leeds, plus a road tunnel under the Pennines providing a better connection between Manchester and Sheffield. 

The government has already taken steps to increase local decision making with new metro mayors in Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region and the Tees Valley.

Image: iStock


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