Headlines: November 24th, 2014

A proposal to link northern cities with high speed rail as well as by air and road has won the Great North Plan prize.

The winning idea is the One North proposal, which links Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield in a 15 year plan of interconnected transport infrastructure. The £15 billion plan covers air, roads, ports and rail and includes a plan for a high-speed east-west route, essentially an HS3, which has since been endorsed by the government. The proposal, which was submitted by Transport for Greater Manchester on behalf of the five cities involved in its development, won the George Stephenson Prize for industry professionals.

The One North proposal is published as part of IPPR North’s ‘Great North Plan’ competitions, which called for ideas to transform Northern infrastructure and revitalise the Northern economy.

The winners of the Great North Plan prize, which sought less conventional and more long-term plans from entrants under 25, all focused on merging car use with renewable energy production. Two of the winners, Ben Puddicombe and Edward Davies, advanced the idea of using solar panels to replace sections of asphalt roads. The third winner, Alexandru Buruiana, looked at harnessing the energy wasted on Britain’s roads through noise, wind speed and braking by bringing harvesting and refuelling infrastructure together.

Ed Cox, Director of IPPR North, said: “The Chancellor has given every indication that he will announce significant infrastructure investment for the North of England in his forthcoming Autumn Statement. This is most welcome but the North of England needs a pipeline of proposals for future investment that not only ensure on-going investment, but also shape the kind of economy the North of England needs to become.”

“The One North proposal presents a clear, fundable and ambitious plan for infrastructure in the North and may well become the basis upon which the so-called ‘Northern powerhouse’ of interconnected cities will be built in the next two decades.”

Other innovations commended by the judges included a vacuum train from Manchester to New York City and a ‘Green Cities’ proposal, which would see northern cities granted funding in exchange for environmental plans. The panel also commended a proposal for a Pennines National Park, which would protect the entire Pennine range.