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Cumbria LEP has contributed to the delivery of several projects over the past year, which are designed to further improve the county’s infrastructure.

There are many positive aspects of our existing infrastructure that provide actual or potential benefits in attracting investment.

These include:

  • M6 motorway – this important road link passes through the middle of the county and is a factor in the clustering of our logistics sector along this corridor
  • West Coast Mainline – rail access through stations at Carlisle (also with connections east and west), Penrith, and Oxenholme/Kendal
  • A66 road upgrade – from Penrith to Scotch Corner that will, if implemented, further improve the accessibility of the east of the county

Photo of the M6 Motorway in motion

The current West Coast Mainline provides good direct rail services north to Scotland and south to Lancaster, Preston, Greater Manchester, Manchester Airport, Birmingham and London.

Indeed, the southern part of the county is within commuting distance direct to and from the centre of Manchester - the largest employment location in the Northern Powerhouse. Cumbria benefits from several working ports in Barrow, Silloth and Workington and CLEP has been working with the ports to identify opportunities to further develop infrastructure facilities and to explore growth opportunities.

The opening of Carlisle Lake District Airport for passenger services to London Southend, Belfast and Dublin this summer has helped improve connectivity for businesses, residents and potential visitors to Cumbria. CLEP supported the development with a £4.95 million funding package from the Government's Growth Deal Fund that helped upgrade the airport's infrastructure.

Cumbria has excellent green energy resources and opportunities for new energy sources. Cumbria is home to the world's largest offshore windfarm, major biomass plants and a small but growing hydro sector along with potential tidal power possibilities in both the Solway and Morecambe Bay.

Importantly, Cumbria's nuclear heritage means that the area is ideally placed for new nuclear; be it large, small or advanced modular reactors.

The county also boasts important assets in relation to the oil and gas field in the Irish Sea and Barrow acts as a base for serving the sector.

Photo of an offshore windfarm at dusk

Cumbria's unique geography means that access to digital connectivity is critical for accessing services and for business. The coverage of broadband has improved considerably over the past five years, helped by the Connecting Cumbria project that has accelerated the roll-out of superfast broadband to most villages in Cumbria. However, there remains 7% of premises without access to superfast broadband and coverage in Eden and across the Lake District National Park area is poorer than other areas.

Housing delivery is crucial as a catalyst to attracting more people to live in the county. Cumbria is one of the few areas in England where all our local housing targets are well in excess of the Government's new standard methodology for estimating housing need. This reflects the awareness amongst all local authorities of the need to attract people to live and work in Cumbria, given the implications for workforce decline.

CLEP established a Transport and Infrastructure Strategy Group to oversee activity in this area. It has a well-established work programme, including the Cumbria Infrastructure Plan, which is now being developed into the Cumbria Transport and Infrastructure Plan.

Initially, the group has focused on previously identified challenges and is now starting to consider priorities identified within the Local Industrial Strategy, which include improvements to:

Improving our Digital Connectivity

Photo of a person using a tablet device

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Investing in road, rail and transport

Panoramic photo of a motorway with hills in the background

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Photo of a row of small cottage houses

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Sites and Premises

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Resilient and Green Economy

A photo of an offshore windfarm

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