A view from the ministryby Chris Grayling / August 21, 2018 / Leave a comment
Published in September 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
Terminal decline: it’s time for Britain to get more air capacity We’ve seen many recent technological revolutions in our lifetimes—now it’s time for the next transport revolution. We’re making the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era: a third runway at Heathrow, and the “Road To Zero” strategy which will make the UK the best place to drive an electric vehicle. We have made a commitment to Northern Powerhouse Rail and are spending more than £13bn through to 2020 to transform transport across the north. We are investing in the Great North Rail Project and the TransPennine Express franchise, to double the capacity of the network with state of the art trains, longer carriages with more seats for passengers and more services by 2020. We are also investing £55.7bn in HS2, which will become the backbone of our national rail network—helping us to boost jobs and growth, and improve vital links between some of Britain’s biggest cities. A new third runway at Heathrow will provide benefits of up to £74bn to passengers and the wider economy, as well as creating tens of thousands of jobs. Heathrow is already the UK’s biggest airport for both passengers and freight and the north-west runway will almost double the airport’s capacity for goods. Businesses across the country—including the north—will gain access to new customers around the world. The coming decades are going to be transformative for our motor industry. The “Road to Zero” sets out a way for the UK to become a world leader in zero emission transport. The government is investing £1.5bn in ultra-low emission vehicles by 2021. There are already more than 150,000 ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads and 14,000 public charge points. Nottingham, Bristol, Milton Keynes and London, which have received a share of £40m to boost the number of plug-in cars. It is estimated that, by 2035, the market for autonomous vehicles could be worth £28bn. To achieve these ambitions, we are working alongside industry and other groups to meet the UK’s transport needs. But we need more engineers—the industry faces a shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates a year. The Year of Engineering is a government campaign. We have joined forces with more than 1,400 industry partners to transform perceptions of engineering among young people. A revolution is on its way—and UK transport is heading into the future.