1. AIMS OF
This report looks at the wider implications
for regional development in the UK of the Channel Tunnel Rail
Link (CTRL). Whilst the Government is supportive of an early introduction
of regional services on economic development and regeneration
grounds, there has been no systematic attempt to review the regional
development case for these services.
The setting up of the new Regional Development
Agencies for England, together with the new national strategies
for transport and sustainable development have created a window
of opportunity for looking at the broader policy context of the
CTRL regional services.
The report grasps the opportunity for a fresh
perspective on the CTRL from the standpoint of sustainable regional
2. EVALUATION FRAMEWORK
The impacts on the regions of the CTRL are evaluated
and the results presented in a format that relates to an analysis
of sustainable development in the UK with specific reference to:
A survey of available data and a review of the
case for the complete CTRL was undertaken, with easier connections
to the regions at the heart of the argument.
New data and evidence was also collected from
around the country and brought together within this study.
The links between current UK Government and
EU policies are made in relation to regional development strategies,
the CTRL and high speed rail links to continental Europe.
CTRL regional services offer a unique "win-win"
opportunity to achieve improvements in all three areas of sustainable
regional development at onceneither road nor air transport
are able to offer this three-way benefit.
Our nationwide survey of expert opinion and
review of regional strategies indicate that the regions north
of London will benefit in terms of:
accessibility to EU markets and suppliers, efficiency gains in
supply chains and logistics, better prospects for inward investment
and tourism, and more broadly, opportunities for regional economic
adjustment and dynamism.
Social Cohesionenhanced prospects
for regional convergence in living standards, less labour market
exclusion and a better quality of life as citizens of the 21st
new enabling infrastructure for national and regional integrated
transport strategies that can help to reduce road congestion pollution
and health and safety throughout the UK.
Importantly, CTRL regional services will bring
long-term benefits to London and the South East as well as to
the UK regions north of London.
The UK regions are entering the most competitive
era of their economic development. As we argue in this report,
most regions are simply not competitive by European standards,
such that the opportunity costs of the CTRL are extremely high.
Not only is the UK's social cohesion at risk, but also the country's
aspirations to environmental sustainability are at issue.
The opportunity costs of unequal regional access
to the pan-European High Speed Rail Network also include enormous
political risks. The Government's policies of:
establishing Regional Development
Agencies and the role of transport infrastructure in regional
committing the UK to constructing
a sustainable future in activities around economic development
and regeneration, the environment and social cohesion;
investing in an integrated transport
will carry little weight with regional and local
private-public sector partnerships, if the CTRL opportunity is
seen to give London and the South East a major head-start, rather
than providing a badly needed kick-start to the regions north