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Cumbria to get £278m of 'reallocated' HS2 funding

Cumbria's transport network will benefit from £278m of reallocated HS2 funding, the prime minister has announced.

Westmorland and Furness Council will receive about £129m and Cumberland Council about £149m, as part of a £1.5bn package of Network North funding for the North West.

The councils are expected to work with MPs and communities to make sure the funding is spent "promptly and effectively" to improve transport connections.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: "This is levelling up in action."


The funding, reallocated from a recently scrapped HS2 leg, will be delivered through the Local Transport Fund in an effort to improve transport connections in smaller cities, towns and rural areas.

Mr Sunak is expected to call on ministers and MPs to hold local authorities to account to ensure the funding is used appropriately.

He said local leaders are being "empowered" to invest in transport projects that matter in their areas.

How can the money be spent?

The Department for Transport said the funding will be made available from 2025 and could be used for a variety of projects, including:

  • Building new roads and improving junctions
  • Installing or expanding mass transit systems
  • Improving roads by filling in potholes
  • Installing better street lights
  • Tackling congestion
  • Refurbishing bus and train stations

Councils will be expected to publish detailed plans for the projects they want to invest in, while the government said it will publish advice to help local authorities and transport authorities to develop proposals.


Transport secretary Mark Harper said the investment across the North West would be "truly game-changing" and make a difference to millions.

Lord Patrick McLoughlin, chair of Transport for the North, welcomed the funding boost.

He said: "We know that the travelling public will get better results the more locally the decisions are made on how those services should be provided.”

Cumberland Council's Denise Rollo, executive member for sustainable, resilient and connected places, said the authority would work to "develop detailed plans to ensure the funding is spent on local transport priorities".

She added: “We will also explore opportunities for more ambitious transport improvements over the next seven years which could include increasing the number of electric vehicle chargepoints, junction improvements, safer streets initiatives for children to walk to school and improved street lighting.”

Simon Fell, Conservative MP for Barrow and Furness, said planners must "seize the opportunity" to deliver "the improvements that we desperately need".

He added: “This funding gives Westmorland and Furness the opportunity to immediately get the stalled Grizebeck bypass moving, improve Duddon Bridge, streamline and make safer the A590 down to the M6, and work with Cumberland on the improvements that the A595 desperately needs."

Westmorland and Furness Council has been approached for comment.

Cumbria to receive £278m of 'reallocated' HS2 funding - BBC News