Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


ANNEX 2

RESUME OF LOCAL FUTURES STUDY COMMISSIONED BY FTEA "THE IMPACT OF THE CHANNEL TUNNEL RAIL ON THE REGIONAL ECONOMIES `NORTH OF LONDON'"

  In June 1998 the Local Futures Group undertook a study on behalf of the Fast Tracks to Europe Alliance to look at the regional impact of CTRL. A full version of the report is available by request from Steve Hoier at the FTEA secretariat. However it was felt that a brief resume of the report along with the memorandum for the Committee should be submitted.

  The two page Executive Summary is also attached as an appendix. The study is focused on the win win opportunity offered by CTRL with regard to Economic Competitiveness, Social Cohesion and Environmental sustainability. All these issues are high on the Government's agenda.

ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS

  "Good quality transport links are of significant importance to the Scottish economy, due to its geographic position."

  Ms M McLaughlin, Scottish Enterprise Transport Division.

  "Peripherality and the reduction in economic integration with the EU poses a substantial long term threat to the sustainability of the region" Local Futures.

  The North East Transport and Distribution Competitiveness Study (1998) and other research indicates that;

    —  Peripherality is a barrier to competitive advantage owing to the distance cost penalty.

    —  Firms in Scotland perceive that their transport costs are appreciably higher, owing to congestion—related problems in output delivery.

    —  Distance related transport problems can include time penalties.

  Improvements to accessibility via the Channel Tunnel will lead to increased competition from the rest of the EU as well as better access to European markets to firms located in the northern regions of the UK.

SOCIAL COHESION

  Currently according to Local Futures.

  The UK economy remains one of the most highly divided economies of Europe in terms of the regional spatial balance of growth and wealth.

  GDP per capita in the most of the UK outside London is significantly lower than the EU average, furthermore the latest EC reports indicated that the peripheral or less favoured regions of the EU have not caught up with the more advanced regions despite support from the Structural funds.

  One of the aims of the Integrated Transport Strategy is to bring about a more inclusive society. According CTRL will have three kinds of social impact.

    —  Having an address on the European High Rail Network will strengthen regional identities and boost the image and confidence of people and business. This will have a positive impact on regional growth and indirectly.

    —  Social cohesion, measured by local inequalities in living standards, will be improved through the CTRL's positive impacts on economic sustainability and labour market exclusion.

    —  The quality of life for people living in the regions north of London will improve in terms of amenity value—by improving accessibility to Europe for leisure and networking with friends and family.

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

  The last few decades have seen a fundamental shift of freight and passengers from rail to road networks not only in the UK but also in other EU countries.

  As part of the Maastricht Treaty's strategy to build Trans European Transport Networks, the European Commission sees the High Speed Train as a cornerstone of a sustainable European Transport system. It will use only a third of the land required to meet the same capacity, reduce acid emissions and will cut the forecast increases in CO2 emissions by 2010 from 30 per cent to 26 per cent. It will also help to contain at 27 per cent instead of 32 per cent the expected rise in transport energy consumption by 2010.

  Without a significant shift from road to rail it is extremely unlikely that the Government national air quality strategy will be successfully implemented.

  "The emphasis on road transport is environmentally undesirable and economically damaging"

  Mr G Speight, Chairman of Highways and Transportation, Kirkless Council.

  The Integrated Transport Policy (ITP) is being developed in order for public transport to offer an effective alternative to cars. The doubling of rail use would achieve an estimated 15.8 per cent reduction in peak traffic flows and a 4.4 per cent reduction in off peak flows. The existing rail capacity does not allow this—the CTRL would create this necessary capacity and release considerable latent benefits. The greatest influence on the overall volume of freight transported via through train rail services, will be the Governments policy towards the transfer of long distance freight from road to rail.



 
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