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Burnham demands same powers as London to tackle transport

Words: Huw Morris
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham / Labour Party

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham is demanding the government devolve more powers to tackle the city region’s 'outdated' transport.

The need to expand capacity at key road junctions and the collapse of public confidence in local rail services have created a “perfect storm” that is disrupting people’s lives and livelihoods, he said.

Greater Manchester’s growth has also exposed an “outdated, fragmented and unaccountable transport system", he added, calling on the government to devolve more powers so that the city region can control the day-to-day running of its transport system, as is the case in London.

“Greater Manchester is a growing city region on the world stage, but our transport network and infrastructure are holding us back,” Burnham said. “We lack basic powers over the day-to-day running of our transport system.

“I fully understand the frustration people feel at the delays and disruption we are currently experiencing. I also feel it, because I simply do not have enough powers at my disposal to get a grip on things.”

The mayor added that any future clean air plan would be “undeliverable and unsuccessful” without more powers from Whitehall.

Burnham called for greater powers over the running of the local and strategic road network, including oversight of Highways England to allow coordination of roadworks,  joint planning powers, the ability to introduce civil enforcement of yellow box junctions, and a London-style lane rental scheme for roadworks by utility companies.

He also wants greater powers over the running of the rail network, including giving Transport for the North full oversight of the rail franchises and Transport for Greater Manchester devolved control of all rail stations.

Image credit | Labour Party