It’s always pleasing to read about new transport and infrastructure projects. Transport is recognised as a key factor in enabling development.
This week Transport for Lancashire announced new road schemes. Their plan of laying infrastructure is to enable the proposals for housing and industry in the City Deal. It brings a new by-pass for Broughton and a link from the M55 to Springfields and the Warton Enterprise Zone. These are worthy plans but they’ll probably take at least 5 years. Couple that with electrification of the Manchester to Blackpool line and well into the future high speed rail trains, if not the track, should lay a good foundation for the area.
Most of this is headed by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, chaired by our favourite grocer, Edwin Booth. This is localism allowing local authorities the ability to plan and implement what the elected representatives agree is best for the future.
For Lancashire, Aerospace and Shale Gas are the two key economic opportunities seen by the councils. While loss of traditional industries, over reliance on the public sector and lack of suitable housing are seen as the challenges.
Let’s hope it works. Aerospace has the potential to continue to be big although the role of the local factories is changing from heading huge European projects to a smaller role in bigger American projects, with future European projects thin on the ground. Depending on aerospace might contain risks but it’s here now and to encourage it to stay we need to make sure it has the best support. The UK aerospace industry has always benefitted from big investment in R&D and science in the UK along with a basic skill base, these are also key factors needing encouragement. Locally one of these can be helped through engineering education.