The Sheffield City Region, Doncaster Council and the Peel Group (owners of Doncaster Sheffield Airport) have taken a major step forward by submitting an outline business case to the Government which could deliver a new national and regional rail connection to Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
With just 4.5 miles of new track required, the proposed GatewayEast Growth Hub Rail scheme will add high speed electrified rail connectivity to the UK’s fastest growing airport, alleviate congestion on the East Coast Mainline (ECML), creating an airport with great potential to expand by making use of largely existing infrastructure.
The scheme delivers 33,000 jobs in the North within the next ten years, 10,000 of them deliverable within just five years.
Critically, the plans quadruple the number of people with Airport access via a sustainable transport mode from 2.4 million to 9 million within a 90-minute rail journey. It reduces the need for 18,000 Trans Pennine journeys taken by car, many of them through a national park, to the North West and removing 80 million road miles to more distant airports, taking around 23,000 tonnes of CO2 off the UK’s road network.
The submission today of a detailed business case by the three partners seeks inclusion of the project in the Department for Transport (DfT’s) Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline. A critical step in getting the project funded and off the ground.
Dan Jarvis MBE MP Mayor of the Sheffield City Region said: “I am pleased that this critically important scheme has reached another key milestone with the submission to Government. The benefits to communities and businesses through connecting the country’s fastest growing regional airport to the national and regional rail network are huge. We have to make sure that we get people off our roads and onto sustainable public transport. This investment would help make that a reality.”
Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: “We have an exceptional record of delivering major infrastructure schemes on time and in budget that boost the economy and see real growth. This GatewayEast Growth Hub Rail scheme is ‘oven ready’ and demonstrates how Doncaster can deliver the North’s essential economic growth ambitions, delivering jobs and housing locally and by unlocking further economic potential at the airport, our borough, Sheffield City Region and across the North. The rail connectivity will quadruple access to the growth hub for jobs and flights by a sustainable travel mode taking 23,000 tonnes of CO2 off the road network.”
Robert Hough CBE, Chairman of Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA), said: “An East Coast Mainline station situated at DSA demonstrates exceptional value for money for the tax-payer with a 22:1 return on its £300m investment. Furthermore, this would be a strong signal to the North of the Government’s promise in levelling up. The return on investment from this scheme is greater than the forecast benefits of the entire Eastern leg of HS2 but delivering years in advance and fully complementary. It is essentially ‘shovel-ready’ and deliverable within five years.
“The Sheffield City Region’s economy is not as productive as it could be given the world class assets such as the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. We have exceptional local support from Doncaster Council, the Sheffield City Region and our local Chambers of Commerce who recognise the important economic benefit and sound environmental benefits that can be created by this scheme.”
Nick Fletcher MP said “Doncaster Sheffield Airport is a fantastic asset to Don Valley and its potential should be fully realised to create jobs, housing and new opportunities. This would be very much welcomed in an area that has been left behind for too long. I fully support this project and am working hard here in Don Valley and Westminster with all stakeholders to make this happen.”
Peter Kennan, Board Member on the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership said “The importance of rail access to Doncaster Sheffield Airport cannot be underestimated. The LEP is in the process of updating the Strategic Economic Plan for the region and development of ground transportation to the Airport and its surrounding commercial and residential developments will be a major spur to further significant growth in jobs and economic opportunity all in an environmentally sustainable way.”
The GatewayEast Growth Hub Rail scheme will provide a new rail connection to the East Coast Mainline (ECML) and the Lincoln line, with a new rail station to be located at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, and will provide a powerful catalyst for growth across the entire Sheffield City Region, North Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.
The scheme delivers strongly against Government’s Northern Powerhouse ambitions, Transport for the North’s Strategic Transport Plan, as well as the DfT’s Transport Investment Strategy: Moving Britain Ahead, its priorities for rail and the business case itself is strongly aligned with the DfT’s Rebalancing Toolkit.
It helps to resolve the undersupply of future Aviation capacity in the UK, even following the delivery of Heathrow’s third runway – additional future UK aviation capacity needs mean there is a forecast overspill of 50 million journeys currently without a delivery plan. Doncaster Sheffield Airport would be the only Airport in the UK to be connected directly to the existing high-speed East or West Coast mainlines with just 4.5 miles of track.
The business case outlines the positive economic impact that the GatewayEast Growth Hub Rail scheme will have on the North’s towns and cities. With the Government’s backing and commitment of £300m, it has the potential to unlock 33,000 jobs across for Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire residents over the next 10 years, and 10,000 engineering, manufacturing aviation, energy and construction jobs within the next five years. Long-term, the scheme could unlock 53,000 jobs and increase the region's GVA contribution by 5% (£1.7 billion per annum).
The scheme also offers excellent value for money with every £1 invested delivering £22.58 in economic returns for the UK plc. The cost is relatively modest – approximately £300 million (including industry optimum bias) and the station can be delivered relatively quickly in major infrastructure terms and can be operational by 2025 – over a decade before other major rail infrastructure schemes are expected to benefit the North.