'˜Cut congestion to get economy moving'

Lord Andrew AdonisLord Andrew Adonis
Lord Andrew Adonis
TACKLING congestion in cities such as Leeds should be a national priority, the Government has been told.

Gridlocked roads were highlighted as one of the major obstacles to the country’s economic growth in the UK in a new report from the National Infrastructure Commission.

It highlighted figures showing more than 70 per cent of workers in Leeds use their care to get to work compared to less than a third in London.

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Leeds is also among a group of cities which have seen their populations grow by more than six per cent over the last decade as job opportunities are increasingly focused in urban areas.

Train services are also under strain with one-in-six passengers standing on their communte into Leeds.

It recommended funding for transport should be given the same priority as support for major projects to connect cities such as the HS2 high speed rail line which will connect Leeds and London.

Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake said: “The UK’s infrastructure is currently not fit for purpose and is holding back economic growth particularly in the UK’s biggest cities.

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“This must be addressed as we approach Brexit, and as the human costs of poor air quality become ever more apparent.”

The Commission’s report warned that the UK was lagging behind the United States, the Netherlands and Japan on broadband and 4G speeds.

The report highlighted the “extensive flooding” which hit Leeds and other parts of northern England in December 2015 as it made the case for measures to make the UK more resilient to extreme weather events.

Lord Andrew Adonis, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, said: “We cannot afford to sit on our hands – Ministers must act now to tackle the Three Cs of congestion, capacity and carbon if we are to have infrastructure fit for the future, supporting economic growth across the country.”