The Tees Valley has been heralded as an example of best practice in devolution by one of the country’s top infrastructure experts.
At the Institution of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) North East’s 125th Anniversary Prestige Lecture, David Brown, Chief Executive of Transport for the North (TfN), hailed the region as an example of how devolution is working, in terms of delivering improvements to transport infrastructure.
In his speech, which was delivered in the Great Hall at Northumbria University as part of a programme of events to celebrate ICE’s 125th year in the region, Mr Brown, explained TfN’s role in improving transport infrastructure and connectivity in the North East, Tees Valley, and the wider North.
When asked about the state of devolution, Mr Brown immediately cited the Tees Valley as an example of best practice, stating: “The Northern Powerhouse is working in the Tees Valley. The Combined Authority there has taken the positive steps of saying here is our economic future, this it what we are trying to achieve at the port and in the cities and the towns, and four transport projects needed to be able to complete to achieve it.”
In his speech Mr Brown noted the importance of better transport connections to the future prosperity of the North, which could yield 850,000 more jobs and extra £92 billion for the economy by 2050, on top of current predictions.
ICE Regional Director Penny Marshall said: “It is excellent to see the Tees Valley recognised as an example of the Northern Powerhouse working. The benefits of transport investment to our region will be seen in terms of economic growth and improvement to our quality of life. The improvements to the A66 in particular are an example of how working across regions can have a positive impact on our area.
“In addition to new investment in high profile projects the future economic wellbeing of the North East and Tees Valley requires proper funding for the maintenance of existing infrastructure. While funding maintenance is less eye-catching than major capital schemes, and consequently lacks the appeal to decision makers in Government, it is equally important.”