Tour of Britain
6.50am. Piccadilly Station. Here to meet Sadiq Khan, Minister of State for Transport, who is the bearer of good news for Manchester and the North West. Not before time, government is going to invest £100m in electrifying the Manchester-Liverpool railway line so that at last the world's oldest passenger railway route joins the twentieth century (and I do know we're now in the 21st).
This will mean faster journeys, Manchester to Liverpool in thirty minutes, cleaner journeys as electric trains generate around 35% less emissions than diesels, more comfortable journeys, and longer trains carrying more passengers. This is all intended to be completed within four years which is lightning speed for major infrastructure projects in this country, should cause minimal disruption, and has an added bonus of facilitating electric train services between Manchester Airport and Scotland.
After our eight weekly Overview and Scrutiny Co-ordinating Committee meeting I join Alan Gilbert, President of the University of Manchester, and Michael Oglesby of Bruntwood for the launch of Ecocities, a practical research programme supported by Bruntwood, and to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the City Council and the University setting out how we will collaborate on sustainability issues, not least the pressing issue of climate change. This is an opportunity for Manchester to benefit from developing cutting edge best practice and at the same time learn from the best from around the world. Later in the day, the Environment Advisory Panel meets, now deeply embroiled in the process of writing a Climate Change Action plan for Manchester, intended to be completed by November, although I use the term completed loosely as this will always be work in progress.
Finally I'm with Sadiq Khan again, this time at an event in Cheetham to celebrate the diversity of the North West. My journey to there from Piccadilly involved minor detours via the Town Hall and a quick stop at home in Crumpsall. He'd gone from Piccadilly to Liverpool, then to Cardiff via Crewe for a Cabinet meeting, and then back to Manchester. Rather me than him.