Journey times between west Cumbria and Carlisle and between Cumbria and the North East have to be reduced, according to man in charge of transport strategy for the North.

David Brown, chief executive of Transport for the North, was meeting with Cumbrian MPs and business leaders today who pressed the case for improvements to the A595, A69 and better rail links.

“Clearly we need an improvement on east to west journeys right the way from west Cumbria to the east coast. That’s consistent with other areas of the country where the east to west journey times are far too slow,” he said.

Mr Brown said a strategic transport plan for the North would be finalised this year and put out to consultation.

“This is our opportunity to produce the plan for the North to make the case for our transport priorities and if we can get behind that plan we have the opportunity to make that case for central government funding,” he added.

Carlisle MP John Stevenson said journey times of one hour were needed for between Carlisle and Newcastle and also for west Cumbria.

“There has been no serious investment in Cumbria’s roads for many, many years, but we are starting to see interest government and MPs of all parties are campaigning for that investment,” he said.

Investment in infrastructure would be a key driver of economic growth and was all the more pressing to support NuGen when it comes to Cumbria, he added.