‘We deserve level of ambition and funding as London had with Crossrail’ says South Yorkshire mayor Oliver Coppard

South Yorkshire mayor Oliver Coppard has said the region deserves the same level of ambition and investment as London following the opening of the £19bn Crossrail project across the capital.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 3:27 pm

Delayed and over budget, Crossrail cost £18.8bn and is now known as the Elizabeth line. It stretches from Reading in Berkshire and Heathrow Airport in west London to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in Essex.

It runs underneath central London and once fully operational, it will add 10 per cent capacity to the capital’s rail network.

But critics of the scheme, which was first proposed to Parliament back in 1991, said a similar amount of money spent outside London in areas such as the north of England, would have even greater transformational effects.

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South Yorkshire mayor Oliver Coppard has said the region deserves the same level of ambition and investment as London following the opening of the £19bn Crossrail project across the capital. Credit: Ian Spooner

Figures show that South Yorkshire gets £1 to every £7 to £8 per head spent on public transport in London.

In South Yorkshire more recently, the HS2 line to Sheffield has been scrapped and there have been two further Supertram stops added since 1994.

The mayor said it was great news for London but in comparison to Sheffield and Mancheter, journey times have not changed since 1954.

Mayor Coppard said: “We deserve the same level of ambition and investment that they have in London.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 24: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan (R) and TfL Commissioner Andy Byford disembark after travelling on the first eastbound train on the Elizabeth Line as it opens to the public at Paddington Station on May 24, 2022 in London, England. Originally due to open in December 2018, the £18.8bn railway links Reading and Essex via central London. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

“I’m not going to begrudge the investment that London gets from this government, it’s a world class city and Sadiq Khan (London Mayor) has done a great job of getting that investment and seeing this project through.

“But we want that same level of investment here. If you invested £19bn in the transport network of South Yorkshire and even the wider north of England, what you’d see is a step change in how people get about our region.

“People get in their cars right now because it’s the only way to get across our region of Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster and Sheffield.

“If we want to get people to get out of their cars, we need to give them reliable and efficient public transport service.

“That’s what we need the Government to invest in themselves. They’ve said that by 2030 – 398 weeks time – they want a transport system like there is in South Yorkshire as good as the one in London.”