The government must urgently shift its transport priorities from London and the South East to the North of England if it is to avoid major bottlenecks in the rail network.

This is the conclusion of a report out today which urges MPs to push ahead with the electrification of Northern railways which are currently ‘creaking at the seams’ with capacity problems. 

The House of Commons Transport Committee report claims that investment in new infrastructure should not detract from medium-term investments in the classic rail network from 2014 onwards.

Launching the report, chairman Louise Ellman said: ‘It’s paramount we do not deprive future generations of a lasting legacy of good transport services. Investments made now or in the near future should reflect long-term needs of the economy and society.’

The committee identified the Manchester Hub as a clear priority to overcome problems on the train services across the whole of northern England, including Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastle.

Further electrification of the network, particularly the Midland Main Line between London and Sheffield, should also be given top priority, the report claims.

With pressure mounting on MPs to provide transport systems that provide more seats and fewer carbon emissions, an annoucement that British Airways is to open Europe’s first low carbon jet-fuel plant is likely to boost the government in encouraging businesses to opt into the green economy.

The self-contained plant is expected to convert 500,000 of waste per year into 16 million gallons of green jet fuel through a process that could offers lifecycle greenhouse gas savings of up to 95 per cent compared to fossil-fuel derived jet kerosene.     

According to the group, the scheme would produce enough fuel to make all of British Airways’ flights at nearby London City Airport carbon-neutral and could create up to 1,200 jobs in the area.

The news has been welcomed as much-needed boost to the engineering community. Last week, our poll of over 200 engineers revealed that the majority thought British engineering had become ’a shadow of its former self’.  You can now view the results and let us know what you think.