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New transport strategy for Cumbria

Credit: PA

A new transport strategy could be the key to unlocking road and rail improvements across Cumbria, says the county’s Chamber of Commerce.

Transport for the North’s Strategic Transport Plan is a 170-page blueprint for transport schemes across the north of England over the next 30 years.

“When Transport for the North published a draft version of its strategy last year, we felt it sold Cumbria short.

That prompted us to launch a survey on transport issues, completed by more than 140 Cumbrian businesses. We fed the results to Transport for the North and I’m pleased to say the final strategy takes on board two of our key messages.

Firstly, it now recognises the importance of tourism to the regional economy, a point we made very forcibly.

Secondly, it clearly identifies the benefits of using better transport links to expand travel-to-work areas."

– Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce

It's hoped that this will provide backing for plans to reopen the A595 between Carlisle and Sellafield, opening up new job opportunities for people in those areas.

The Chamber of Commerce also stated that the strategy might strengthen the case to reopen the railway between Penrith and Keswick.

We think this could be a real opportunity. Transport for the North is a statutory body, appointed by the Government, so its strategy has real clout. It sets out the framework for evaluating which schemes will get backing."

– Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce

The plan also talks about investments to improve access to key visitor attractions such as the Lake District.