The success of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ really does rely on the connectivity between our towns and cities. We need to be able to travel efficiently across the region in order to create new opportunities, promote an economic boost and provide better jobs for the north.

The £1 billion upgrade to the A66 TransPennine will cover 29km of the road – between the M6 at Penrith and the A1 at Scotch Corner - developing the only remaining single carriageway sections of the highway into dual carriageways.

Highways England has said that: ‘The A66 is a key national and regional strategic link for a range of traffic movements for east/west journeys in the North of England and provides vital connections for freight and businesses in the regions.’ It also claims that: ‘The A66 is essential to the continued development of the economy in the north of the country.’

The improvements aim to: improve journey times, reliability and resilience on the road; improve access to tourist destinations; improve connectivity for residents and the local workforce; improve air quality and noise for those who live nearby, as well as reduce delays at adjoining major junctions.

Transport links between our towns, cities and key airport hubs is still seen as ‘the missing piece of the Northern Powerhouse jigsaw’ and the government needs to address this if the region is going to increase output and continue to compete on a global stage. We fully support initiatives, like the upgrade to the A66, which are going to improve connectivity and reduce journey times, making the north a more efficient, and more attractive, place to live and do business in.