Last edited 21 Aug 2020

Acceleration Unit

On 21 August 2020 Transport Secretary Grant Shapps launched a new Acceleration Unit to speed up transport infrastructure projects and ‘build back better’ from COVID-19 as the government announced a new wave of funding to level up parts of UK.

Campaign for Better Transport Chief Executive and consumer champion Darren Shirley (formerly of Which? Magazine) will lead the new team of non-government specialists who will join the Department for Transport (DfT) to tackle delays to infrastructure projects. The unit will be directly accountable to the Transport Secretary.

Schapps also announced a raft of upgrades to Walesrailways, with £343 million of investment to deliver better, faster, more reliable journeys, including:

  • Kickstarting design work on plans to upgrade Cardiff Central station.
  • Funding to develop plans for upgraded digital signalling on the 241-kilometre Cambrian line from Shrewsbury Sutton Bridge Junction to Aberystwyth and Pwllheli.
  • Proposals to speed up journeys between Cardiff and Swansea, Chester and Llandudno Junction, and the Severn Tunnel and Cardiff.

The creation of the unit follows the establishment of a new Northern Transport Acceleration Council, dedicated to levelling up infrastructure across the North’s towns and cities.

Shapps said: “We want to accelerate Britain’s recovery by investing in vital infrastructure that will help get businesses back on their feet, create jobs to replace those that have been lost and level up our country. The creation of our new Acceleration Unit and investment in our roads and railways will ensure we build back better, greener and faster in the future.”

Darren Shirley, Head of the Acceleration Unit, said: “The breadth and depth of expertise in my new team will stand us in a good stead as we look to deliver the schemes that will help the country to rebuild faster through decarbonising the transport system and levelling up Britain as we emerge from the Coronavirus crisis.”

Ref https://www.gov.uk/government/news/transport-secretary-launches-new-acceleration-unit-to-speed-up-transport-infrastructure-projects-and-build-back-better-from-covid-19

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