East, West, North & South: joining the dots between the Union Connectivity Review and the Integrated Rail Plan

1 December, 2021

Our latest publication takes a considered look at the contents of both the Integrated Rail Plan and the Union Connectivity Review.

It sets out how key investments can be made to fit with HS2 plans – now scaled back on the eastern side of the country, which lend strong support for accelerating East Coast Main Line upgrade plans

It also highlights the need to prioritise and give some sense of urgency to the plans – to join the dots between the Integrated Rail Plan and the Union Connectivity Review.

You can read the full report here: GG21 East West North South – joining the dots report

Connecting East Lincolnshire

26 August, 2021

East Lincolnshire is inescapably peripheral. To the east is the North Sea, to the north the Humber estuary and to the south the Wash. Greengauge 21’s report – Connecting East Lincolnshire  – explores what can be done to improve East Lincolnshire’s connectivity. The report is a case study in meeting the connectivity needs of a rural and coastal area at a time of climate crisis.

Typical of many coastal areas, East Lincolnshire suffers poor scores on public health and life expectancy and has low levels of social mobility. It is hard to attract new businesses and to deter school leavers from moving elsewhere to find employment.

The connectivity challenge facing East Lincolnshire is unlikely to be solved by highway investment. East Lincolnshire has low levels of car ownership and highway investment doesn’t help those without access to a car. Lincolnshire’s poor road accident statistics highlight that highway schemes should prioritise improving safety rather than speeding up traffic and adding capacity to improve connectivity. And there are major challenges ahead to de-carbonise road transport in a car-dominated rural area.

The report highlights that rail re-openings make greatest sense where suitably efficient operating patterns can be developed, creating multiple journey opportunities. In this case, the mainline station at Peterborough can be used as a gateway not only to East Lincolnshire but the economics of the existing Nottingham–Skegness line can be improved as well.

The report also considers the need for on bus/rail integration. The new rail services would complement the InterConnect bus links that provide connections between Louth and Mablethorpe and Mablethorpe and Skegness, for example. Interurban bus services need to be developed between Louth and Grimsby as well. Good interchange and through ticketing between these bus services and trains at key centres such as Louth and Boston need to be part of the thinking about rail service development. And these transport hubs in the network would be a great location to locate charging points for electric cars.

Setting Regional Budgets for Rail Investment

9 June, 2021

Our latest report “Setting Regional Budgets for Rail Investment” seeks to answer the following question: “What would rail enhancement budgets look like for the rest of England and for Wales, if set on a similar basis to that used by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) for the Midlands and the North of England?

Great British Railways will set out a long term strategy for the railways, as set out in the recent Shapps-Williams Review. It will need to demonstrate how its investment choices reflect national policy and respond to local and regional priorities.

Greengauge 21 Director Jim Steer notes: “the sub-national transport bodies in England should be given a formal advisory role in setting rail investment priorities and budgets. We hope this piece of work will help identify a path to budget-setting, followed by careful assessments of the economic, social and environmental benefits of rail enhancement, region by region”

You can access the report launch summary here: Launch text – Setting Regional Budgets for Rail Investment

The full report as a web accessible version here: Setting Regional Budgets for Rail Investment

And as an A4 version here: Setting Regional Budgets for Rail Investment (A4)


We actively encourage people to use our work, and simply request that the use of any of our material is credited to Greengauge 21 in the following way: Greengauge 21, Title, Date.

Rail Investment for the North & Midlands: how to make it happen…

3 February, 2021

Greengauge 21 has undertaken a detailed review of the National Infrastructure Commission’s ‘Rail Needs’ report. While others have criticised the NIC’s report for not sticking rigidly with plans drawn up 11 years ago, we see it as an opportunity to accelerate benefits to the North & Midlands.

Our report – Meeting the Rail Needs of the Midlands and the North—a Review – calls for:

  • an adaptation of the north eastern arm of HS2 to serve all of the major cities east of the Peak District and Pennines
  • the development of an ‘X’ shaped HS2 network by adding a south western leg, with existing lines from Birmingham to the South West and South Wales electrified
  • building on what would become a first stage of HS2’s north eastern arm – a link from Birmingham to Nottingham.

You can download the full report, which contains an executive summary, here: Meeting the Rail Needs of the Midlands and the North – A Review

The report also highlights where HS2 technical scope can be refined with

Read on »

Response to the Union Connectivity Review

5 January, 2021

On 30th June 2020 the Prime Minister announced a review would be undertaken into union connectivity, exploring ways to improve connectivity between our 4 nations and bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects. Chaired by Sir Peter Hendy CBE, the review will make recommendations on how the UK government can level up transport infrastructure and improve connectivity between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, boosting access to opportunities and improving people’s everyday connections. It will look at how the quality and availability of transport infrastructure between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can support quality of life in communities across the UK while also aiding economic recovery, and make recommendations on whether and how best to improve connections, and whether that includes the need to invest in additional infrastructure by the UK government.

Greengauge 21 welcomes the creation of the Union Connectivity Review. We believe that there is much of significant value in the ambitions which the Government has set for it.

You can access our response to the consultation here: Union Connectivity Review Submission Greengauge 21 response

This submission is based on inputs from three of its senior personnel. Greengauge 21 is an entirely independent policy research organisation with no political or commercial affiliations.

Go Big – Go Local: New report from UK2070 Commission

2 October, 2020

The UK 2070 Commission has produced a report that calls on the government to Go Big, Go Local. The report is a follow up to one produced in February which found that the UK is the most unequal large country in the developed world, and highlights how only a balanced growth plan, a New Deal for Levelling Up is likely to deliver greater prosperity without having damaging environmental and social consequences.

Greengauge 21 produced the UK’s 2070 Transport Infrastructure Requirement as a contribution to the report – setting out how better sustainable transport connectivity can help rebalancing the UK by addressing its inequalities.

The Commission proposes a major programme of investment in transport, skills and the advanced economy coupled with a radical devolution of powers and funding from Whitehall, with immediate priorities for Government as follows:

  • A New Deal for Levelling Up the UK in with a minimum budgetary commitment in the 2020 Spending Review in the order of £150bn over the next 10-years
  • A commitment to full fiscal devolution to the devolved nations and local councils in England, decentralisation of government itself and establish a Commission to report back by the new parliamentary session in Autumn 2021.
  • Ensure that COP26 2021 Glasgow programme on climate change embeds the principles of a Just Transition to Zero-carbon economy
  • Establish a Cross Departmental Committee to audit and recommend how to embed the Levelling Up agenda in all government programmes and policies, including setting out a National Outcomes Framework
  • Establish Accelerator Task Forces for creating Global Centres of Excellence in the North, Midlands and the West of England, with parallel initiatives in the devolved nations
  • Expand the role of the National Infrastructure Commission to include preparation of a Spatial Framework Plan for England with a linked 10-year action programme and collaboration with the devolved nations.

Read the report here: Go Big Go Local – the UK 2070 Report on a New Deal for Levelling Up the UK