The Northern Powerhouse is certainly pumping, but equally keeping up the pace is the Midlands Engine, which shifted up a gear in November as Highways England announced progress on several major transport and infrastructure schemes in the region. The plans, unveiled at a Highways UK event in Birmingham, include a £644m road improvements package to better key transport links in the region, which are used by roughly 142,000 vehicles each day.
This was bolstered by further announcements made by the Chancellor in November’s Autumn Statement, which promised millions for the Midlands to support housing, skills and transport.
Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England Chief Executive, said: “The Midlands is at the heart of England’s strategic road network and investment in schemes like these benefits the whole country. This region really is the Midlands Engine which drives the country.”
The Midlands is one of the fastest growing regions in the country, attracting more inward investment and creating more start-up businesses than anywhere else outside London. With a population of 11.5m people, as well as 14 cities, 27 universities, two international airports and a third of the UK’s manufacturing jobs located inside the Midlands, the potential for the region is undeniable. Investing in further rail, road and air connectivity in the Midlands will bring benefits to the UK as a whole; with other major projects such as HS2 in the pipeline, the Midlands Engine is really starting to pick up speed.