15 December 2011

The project to build lines Two and Three of Nottingham’s tram network is going ahead.

Following commercial and financial close and final Government sign-off, the contract has been awarded to Tramlink Nottingham, to take over the operation of the existing tram line (NET Line One) and to build and operate the extended network to Clifton via Wilford and Chilwell via Beeston (NET Phase Two).

A detailed construction programme is now being finalised and the first phase of construction work will start in January 2012. Services on the new lines are planned to start in late 2014.

Councillor Jane Urquhart, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transportation at Nottingham City Council, the scheme's promoter, says: "After ten years in planning and development, alongside the innovation of the Workplace Parking Levy - our ambitious proposals to add two more lines to our tram network will now be realised.

"This is fantastic news for Nottingham. In these constrained financial and economic times it means a significant boost to the local economy, more jobs and better public transport for thousands of people."

Transport Minister, Norman Baker MP, says: "I am delighted that we are able to finally approve funding so that construction of Phase Two of the tram system can begin.

"Line One of the Nottingham tram has proved to be a great success in encouraging people onto public transport. These extensions provide the opportunity to build on that success, and give people in the south of Nottingham quicker, more convenient access to the city centre as well as providing an alternative means of accessing the city centre for people commuting by car.

"They will also help to regenerate sections of the city and support the Government's wider growth agenda by providing better access to local jobs, and our environmental priority of cutting carbon by encouraging modal shift."

"This good news follows on from the Government's recent announcement to fund the widening of the A453, which will feed into a 1000 space NET Park & Ride site on the edge of Clifton further speeding up people's journeys between the M1 and Nottingham."

The economic benefits the extended network will bring to Nottingham City, the county, and the wider East Midlands region will be to:

  • Generate construction work opportunities for local companies and people, as well as stimulating the local economy to generate long term employment growth of up to 8,000 jobs and could boost the local economy by around £390m per year.
  • Provide access to about 1270 City workplaces, to which about 55,000 employees commute, and a further 600 workplaces in Beeston/Chilwell.
  • Serve two of the three biggest employers in Greater Nottingham - The University of Nottingham and the Queens Medical Centre.
  • Serve 20 of the 30 largest employers in Greater Nottingham, who will be within 800m of a tram stop.
  • Help to create a first class transport interchange (‘the Hub'), at Nottingham Railway Station, which itself is receiving a £67 million redevelopment so that people can interchange between trams, trains, cycling, walking, taxis and cars.
Roger Harrison, Chairman of Tramlink Nottingham said: "We are delighted to be working with the City Council to help bring to fruition Nottingham's ambitious public transport plans. Our consortium, which includes some of the world's leading companies in the light rail and construction sectors, is excited by the prospect of developing the City's tram network and we are committed to providing an effective and efficient system of which the local community can be proud."

George Cowcher, Chief Executive of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, says: "More than two-thirds of businesses in Nottingham support the extension of the tram network and the Chamber is delighted that the city has now reached this significant milestone, which will see new development and inward investment come to Nottingham, and help employees access key employment sites along the two new lines in 2014."

Councillor Jane Urquhart, continues: "The extension to Nottingham's tram network will reduce social exclusion and reduce congestion on key routes into Nottingham by serving all three Nottingham junctions of the M1."

NET Phase Two is funded by Nottingham City Council, the Government, and through a combination of tram fare revenue and a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) arrangement over the life of the concession. The Government provides approximately 66% of the estimated £570m (net present value) cost (through the PFI) arrangement, and the remaining 34% coming from Nottingham City Council, mainly through the Workplace Parking Levy (WPL). The WPL is a charge on employers based in the city that provide 11 or more car parking places for employees.