Union Connectivity Interim Report

Nicholas Lewis

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Shapps has published his report improving transport connectivity between the UK nations

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/union-connectivity-review-interim-report

Somewhat surprising to see Shapps saying in his statement launching it

The consultation will include options to change the air passenger duty (APD) treatment for domestic flights, such as reintroducing a return-leg exemption or the creation of a new lower domestic rate.

Not sure the DofT are joined up sometimes with railways running at a huge loss now go and make air travel cheaper internally to abstract more traffic especially on Anglo-Scottish routes. East Coast Trains business model may look less solid than it was.
 
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mpthomson

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Shapps has published his report improving transport connectivity between the UK nations

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/union-connectivity-review-interim-report

Somewhat surprising to see Shapps saying in his statement launching it



Not sure the DofT are joined up sometimes with railways running at a huge loss now go and make air travel cheaper internally to abstract more traffic especially on Anglo-Scottish routes. East Coast Trains business model may look less solid than it was.
The APD thing is more about Northern Ireland, though obviously it will still apply to London-Scotland..
 

30907

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Not sure the DofT are joined up sometimes with railways running at a huge loss now go and make air travel cheaper internally to abstract more traffic especially on Anglo-Scottish routes. East Coast Trains business model may look less solid than it was.
The actual document refers to APD for "journeys not realistic by rail" to be fair.

(It is interesting that Inverness-London appears to be the biggest air flow within mainland UK - I hadn't realised!).
 

Dr Hoo

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Shapps has published his report improving transport connectivity between the UK nations

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/union-connectivity-review-interim-report

Somewhat surprising to see Shapps saying in his statement launching it



Not sure the DofT are joined up sometimes with railways running at a huge loss now go and make air travel cheaper internally to abstract more traffic especially on Anglo-Scottish routes. East Coast Trains business model may look less solid than it was.
To be fair, it's Sir Peter Hendy's work (assisted by others, as listed in the document) and it's only an Interim Report, and things like APD are 'issues raised' rather then conclusions.

Still quite a way to go.
 

FQTV

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The actual document refers to APD for "journeys not realistic by rail" to be fair.

(It is interesting that Inverness-London appears to be the biggest air flow within mainland UK - I hadn't realised!).

I couldn't find anything about London to Inverness traffic in the report, but in any event, it's not the biggest flow by a long, long way.

Inverness to London has recently been roundly half a million passengers per annum.

By comparison, Glasgow to London has been 2.3 million, and Edinburgh to London has been around 3.3 million.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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The actual document refers to APD for "journeys not realistic by rail" to be fair.
(It is interesting that Inverness-London appears to be the biggest air flow within mainland UK - I hadn't realised!).

The text actually says Edinburgh-London is the "most popular" cross-border air flow "by a significant margin".

The EU context Peter Hendy describes is a £440m/pa payment to the EU transport fund, and only £40m coming back.
So arguably that's £400m for an increased transport budget (and that much less for Boris's extra bus-side money for the NHS).

The report asks a lot of questions from the various stakeholders, and sets the economic context by mode, but with no real answers or recommendations.
It's not, of course, just a rail review, and much of the text is about road/air/port infrastructure and services.
Nuggets like the M6/M74 carrying four times as much cross-border traffic as the A1, and that cross-border air passengers have reduced by almost 30% in the last decade.
A Holyhead-Warrenpoint ferry service would be interesting, but it's 5 miles or so to the nearest rail connection at Newry.
Holyhead takes 40% more passengers to Ireland than Cairnryan (1.8m annually vs 1.3m).
 
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Master29

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I couldn't find anything about London to Inverness traffic in the report, but in any event, it's not the biggest flow by a long, long way.

Inverness to London has recently been roundly half a million passengers per annum.

By comparison, Glasgow to London has been 2.3 million, and Edinburgh to London has been around 3.3 million.
Indeed. Surely if that were true LNER would have more than one service daily from London for competition.
 

paul1609

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Indeed. Surely if that were true LNER would have more than one service daily from London for competition.
not really the one service takes around 8 hours to cover the 566 miles at an average of nearly 70 mph. Once you've got to that distance rail is always going to be a niche market as long as there is an air service. Rail is in much the same position to Inverness as coach is to the central belt.
 

snowball

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The government's press release on the publication of the interim report is here:


Prime Minister Boris Johnson today (10 March 2021) sets out his vision to build back better from coronavirus (COVID-19) by boosting transport connectivity across and between the whole of the UK, as part of ambitions to level up across the country.

The government will also consult on cutting Air Passenger Duty (APD) on internal UK flights and will commit £20 million to develop plans for upgraded rail, road, sea and air links.

...

To jump-start some of the projects identified by Sir Peter, the government has today committed £20 million towards exploring the development of projects such as:

  • improved rail connectivity between the north coast of Wales and England
  • upgrading the A75 between Gretna, Dumfries and Stranraer – a key route for south-west Scotland and Northern Ireland but almost entirely single-carriageway
  • significantly faster rail links from England to Scotland, including looking at options to enhance the West Coast Main Line
  • rail improvements in south-east Wales, building on ideas from the Welsh Government’s Burns Commission
 

Nutfields

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A potential ferry service from Holyhead to Warrenpoint is very interesting. I also didn't realise that freight into Larne is decreasing.
 

IslandDweller

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"It is interesting that Inverness-London appears to be the biggest air flow within mainland UK - I hadn't realised!"
As already noted, that's incorrect. The report highlights that EDI-LON is the biggest domestic air flow, and GLA-LON isn't far behind. In pre-covid days there would be between 3-5 flights a day between Inverness and London but 20-30 a day between Edinburgh / Glasgow to London. (That's 20-30 each of GLA and EDI, not combined)

"The actual document refers to APD for "journeys not realistic by rail" to be fair"
In reality, on the mainland, that means between Aberdeen/Inverness and the southern England and Wales. But there is already an APD exemption for flights from the Highlands, so flights from INV are already exempt from APD. I picked up a flight early in 2020 (just before Covid) for £19 from Inverness to London on British Airways.
 
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Starmill

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To add some content there was a flurry of reports on this yesterday after this exchange took place at Treasury Questions:

Improving road and rail connections across all four nations of the UK will improve the quality of life for our communities and I am really looking forward to seeing the Hendy review this summer. However, there is no doubt that it will take the aviation sector longer than most to recover from the crisis. Taxes, including air passenger duty, need urgent reform to help the industry to get back on its feet. What plans does the Treasury have to remove the double charging of domestic air passenger duty, a call backed by regional airports including Exeter in my constituency and Newquay, which particularly rely on domestic flights to all corners of the United Kingdom?

Jesse Norman

The Treasury is committed to consulting on aviation tax reform. As part of that, we will consider the APD treatment of domestic flights. Unfortunately, the consultation has been delayed in recognition of the rather challenging circumstances that the aviation industry is currently facing, but we will update the House on this in due course.

Alexander Stafford [V]
 
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Taunton

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A potential ferry service from Holyhead to Warrenpoint is very interesting. I also didn't realise that freight into Larne is decreasing.
The LNWR of course ran this Warrenpoint service long ago (to adjacent Greenore).

Larne is decreasing because of a number of services which have diverted back to Belfast, which lost pretty much all its traffic to Larne when vehicle ferries came along in the 1960s-70s, but is staging a recent comeback.
 

WatcherZero

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The EU context Peter Hendy describes is a £440m/pa payment to the EU transport fund, and only £40m coming back.
So arguably that's £400m for an increased transport budget (and that much less for Boris's extra bus-side money for the NHS).

Though if you read the small print the disclaimer says the figure is based on UK contribution to the EU as a whole and not to TEN-T in particular. Politicised headline making.

Theres a breakdown of the projects here:
eu_investment_in_transport_in_uk.pdf (europa.eu)

Its mostly aviation and intelligent roads with some infrastructure studies.
Surprising items are upgrading RAF airbase radios so they dont interfere with radar allowing commercial aircraft to fly lower, funding half the cost of the Old Oak Common station study, paying €39m of the €78m cost of HS2 Phase 1 ground studies and more.

Theres also €85.7m that went to UK companies for projects entirely outside the UK.
 
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Bald Rick

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In pre-covid days there would be between 3-5 flights a day between Inverness and London but 20-30 a day between Edinburgh / Glasgow to London. (That's 20-30 each of GLA and EDI, not combined)

There could be as many as 40+ to Edinburgh each way. I don’t think we’ll see that number ever again.
 

30907

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I couldn't find anything about London to Inverness traffic in the report, but in any event, it's not the biggest flow by a long, long way.

Inverness to London has recently been roundly half a million passengers per annum.

By comparison, Glasgow to London has been 2.3 million, and Edinburgh to London has been around 3.3 million.
Thanks. I was surprised, but went by the graphic which appeared to show more passengers x10k from Inverness than either.
 

Robertj21a

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The actual document refers to APD for "journeys not realistic by rail" to be fair.

(It is interesting that Inverness-London appears to be the biggest air flow within mainland UK - I hadn't realised!).
No way!
 

30907

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A potential ferry service from Holyhead to Warrenpoint is very interesting.
Yes. I presume it is a response to the complications resulting from the Brexit deal - and the A75 issue in Scotland. I would have thought the route would be competitive for Belfast from the M62 belt and points south, and that a ferry would be able to make 2 return crossings per day (same as Dublin, but with tighter turnrounds), so efficient.
I didn't even know Warrenpoint was a ferry terminal - but it looks as though most of the infrastructure is there, just needs a linkspan and a passenger terminal.
 
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On TEN-T, everyone should bear in that HMG right back to the 1990s discouraged public bodies (including BR and then RT and then NR) from looking at its budget as additional money. Indeed, in the 1990s the equivalent of TEN-T if awarded earned you an immediate deduction of the same amount from the grant that HMG paid BR. I was there at the time. In practice, the UK hardly tried to make the most of TEN-T funding really untill the later Blair period. So IMHO the report isn't really quite correct here although I realise it's a Brexit point and few are interested in that stuff any more....
 

Class 170101

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Shapps has published his report improving transport connectivity between the UK nations

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/union-connectivity-review-interim-report

Somewhat surprising to see Shapps saying in his statement launching it



Not sure the DofT are joined up sometimes with railways running at a huge loss now go and make air travel cheaper internally to abstract more traffic especially on Anglo-Scottish routes. East Coast Trains business model may look less solid than it was.

Perhaps its me but surely we shouldn't be introducing more domestic flights between Heathrow and Scotland given that runway capacity pre covid at Heathrow was tight already?
 

Bald Rick

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Perhaps its me but surely we shouldn't be introducing more domestic flights between Heathrow and Scotland given that runway capacity pre covid at Heathrow was tight already?

Pretty unlikely I’d say. Slots at Haetahrow are like gold dust (even now), and airlines* won’t want to use them up on a flow to Scotland.

*in reality, there’s only the one that would use slots for Heathrow - Scotland.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Weren't there some new domestic air routes that were promised if/when the Heathrow 3rd runway opened?
I seem to remember Dundee was one of those.
 

Bald Rick

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Weren't there some new domestic air routes that were promised if/when the Heathrow 3rd runway opened?
I seem to remember Dundee was one of those.

Yes there were - Teeside was another, as were the Channel Islands, Exeter and Newquay. To be honest I don’t think many of them would have lasted long.
 

DerekC

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On TEN-T, everyone should bear in that HMG right back to the 1990s discouraged public bodies (including BR and then RT and then NR) from looking at its budget as additional money. Indeed, in the 1990s the equivalent of TEN-T if awarded earned you an immediate deduction of the same amount from the grant that HMG paid BR. I was there at the time. In practice, the UK hardly tried to make the most of TEN-T funding really untill the later Blair period. So IMHO the report isn't really quite correct here although I realise it's a Brexit point and few are interested in that stuff any more....
Absolutely right, and that carried on in to the 2000s as well. EU money was not allowed to be considered as extra funding. And we should register these points and do what we can to stop the Brexiteers completely rewriting history so that it matches their beliefs.
 

Tomos y Tanc

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The whole thing is quite interesting even if the conclusions are either obvious or nebulous. The fact that the UKG is only providing £20m for follow up work suggests that nothing much will come of it.

The political motive behind the review was to prepare the ground for a post-brexit power grab by Downing Street against the devolved administrations by, for instance, overuling the Welsh Government on an M4 relief road around Newport. The people behind that idea (Dominic Cummings et al) have largely 'moved on' so I suspect the whole thing will be quietly buried.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Yes, there's been a negative reaction by Welsh politicians over the idea of a UK-wide transport network that does not route policy through the devolved capitals.
Transport policy is in a mess, with aviation and rail strategy essentially held at a UK level, but roads and local transport/rail operations being devolved.
Scotland is slightly different with more powers devolved (but not cross-border links, and Network Rail/ORR/RSSB are still UK bodies).

Living close to a border, I don't want two inward-looking national bodies forgetting about the wider benefits of strategic cross-border integration.
Places with heavily-devolved government like Germany and Belgium seem to have structures which solve this problem (not without disputes along the way).
We need something similar which does not amount to England (which generates at least 80% of the funding) bossing the others around.
 

100andthirty

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Yes, there's been a negative reaction by Welsh politicians over the idea of a UK-wide transport network that does not route policy through the devolved capitals.
Transport policy is in a mess, with aviation and rail strategy essentially held at a UK level, but roads and local transport/rail operations being devolved.
Scotland is slightly different with more powers devolved (but not cross-border links, and Network Rail/ORR/RSSB are still UK bodies).

Living close to a border, I don't want two inward-looking national bodies forgetting about the wider benefits of strategic cross-border integration.
Places with heavily-devolved government like Germany and Belgium seem to have structures which solve this problem (not without disputes along the way).
We need something similar which does not amount to England (which generates at least 80% of the funding) bossing the others around.
I suspect the criticism comes from people who haven't red the report. Right at the beginning of his Foreword, Sir Peter Hendy acknowledges the excellent work of the devolved administrations in bringing about improvements in their "patches", and then highlights that by their very nature they will struggle to "connect it all up" - my paraphrase of his words.
 

d9009alycidon

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Perhaps its me but surely we shouldn't be introducing more domestic flights between Heathrow and Scotland given that runway capacity pre covid at Heathrow was tight already?
Worth remembering that only a percentage of Scotland to London flights use Heathrow and BA have the monopoly for that. Pre Covid it was BA to Heathrow, London City and Gatwick, Easyjet to Luton, Stanstead and Gatwick, and Ryanair to Stanstead (possibly others, always avoid Ryanair if at all possible). The choice of destination airport would be based on budget and onward destination, so unless you are heading for the city centre it would be Heathrow and Gatwick if flying on to Europe/Worldwide or south and west of London, Luton for North of London and Stanstead for East Anglia.
What will be interesting post COVID is how the void left by the demise of Flybe will be filled, they had been the airline to use to get form Scotland to Birmingham, East Midlands and the smaller airports like Southampton and Exeter.
 

snowball

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I suspect the criticism comes from people who haven't red the report. Right at the beginning of his Foreword, Sir Peter Hendy acknowledges the excellent work of the devolved administrations in bringing about improvements in their "patches", and then highlights that by their very nature they will struggle to "connect it all up" - my paraphrase of his words.
The problem is not anything that's in the report. The problem is what Johnson may do because he wants to.
 

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