A DRAFT transport plan looking at what major rail and road projects should be developed over the next 30 years has been agreed.

Northern leaders have agreed the plan by Transport for the North, which is set to become England’s first sub-national transport body in the coming months.

Civic and business leaders are calling for sustained prioritised investment.

The draft will be subject to a thirteen-week public consultation, before being submitted to the Government.

It will identify seven ‘corridors’ where transport improvements are needed to allow businesses to grow and job prospects to be increased and also looks at things like contactless smart ticketing, providing rapid, regular and reliable East-West rail connections to complement the improved North–South connections which will be offered by HS2.

Among the priorities on the rail network are new junctions in the Leeds area and at Manchester Picadilly to improve connections from Manchester, Sheffield and the Midlands to the North-East.

The cost of the 30-year plan is estimated to cost around £2-£2.3 bn – or around £150 per northern citizen per year.

John Cridland, TfN Chairman, said: “Transport for the North’s vision is of a thriving North of England, where modern transport connections drive economic growth and support an excellent quality of life. Our plans would revolutionise travel around the North, particularly East–West links which have previously not received enough attention, and, by extension, will improve how the region does business.

“For decades, the North has underperformed compared to the rest of England. Robust evidence shows that investing in quality infrastructure, as well as in other important areas such as education, skills development and research, could lead to more than 850,000 additional jobs in the North by 2050 and £100 billion additional Gross Value Added.

“Although what we’re looking at is investment in our roads and railways, this isn’t just about transport. It’s about ensuring that the North of England is a thriving region where people can learn, build a career and enjoy an excellent quality of life.”

Transport for the North will be publishing the draft plan on Tuesday, January 16, with a consultation running until April.