Midlands Connect has signed a collaboration agreement with the Department for Transport in what has been called a landmark consolidation move.

The agreement was made at the Midlands Connect Summit in Birmingham last week, where Greater Lincolnshire LEP’s Partnerships and Programmes Manager Halina Davies took part in one of the discussion panels.  

Midlands Connect is focused on two core functions: to develop and maintain a transport strategy for the Midlands region and to use this strategy to provide advice about prioritising investments to the Secretary of State. 

Both functions are key to helping develop the UK’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan which will address how best to maintain rural connectivity, public transport links and industrial logistics while committing to low carbon initiatives.  

Through the collaboration agreement, central Government and national bodies will commit to: 

  • Working openly and constructively with Midlands Connect at all levels 
  • Ensuring that the Midlands Connect Strategic Transport Plan is understood across Government in the context of national decision making 
  • Providing a formal response from to future/updated Midlands Connect Transport Plans 
  • Facilitating regular dialogue between Midlands Connect and Ministers regarding progress of the agreed priorities within the Midlands Connect Transport Strategy.

Commenting on the agreement, Halina Davies said: “Signing the collaboration marks a significant step in the right direction for Greater Lincolnshire’s transport networks as we continue to work together to enable more streamlined logistics solutions. 

“The summit enabled stakeholders from across the midlands to collectively consider the changing landscape of our region. It was great to be able to debate connectivity challenges, technological opportunities, leveling up considerations, electric vehicles, and the complexities around infrastructure funding. 

“The pandemic has reinforced just how essential our road and rail infrastructure is in ensuring the productivity, mobility and safety of our communities. Greater Lincolnshire is home to some of the busiest roads for haulage, including the A46 and the M180 in North Lincolnshire which is vital to our ports and logistics sector.  

“We look forward to collaborating further with Midlands Connect to support our growth ambitions and east-west connectivity requirements.” 

Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: “The work of Midlands Connect is vital – local bodies know what’s best for their region, and where our investment will have the biggest impact as we level up transport and build back better. 

“That’s why I’m delighted to sign the collaboration agreement between Midlands Connect and the Department for Transport, so we can work together on the region's priorities and improve the lives of people in the Midlands.” 

Road and rail infrastructure is a priority theme for the Greater Lincolnshire LEP along with ports and logistics – especially pertinent as the Humber Freeport project begins to take shape.  

Midlands Connect covers Greater Lincolnshire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, the Black Country, Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Coventry and Warwickshire, the Marches, and Worcestershire.