If one thinks of business and commerce in Cumbria as a body, then transport and infrastructure are its veins and arteries - keeping the lifeblood of the organism flowing.

This year Cumbria County Council adopted the Cumbria Transport Infrastructure Plan (CTIP), which sets out how it will keep the county’s communities and businesses connected, healthy and safe for the next 15 years.

The plan has been developed by the council alongside various partners, including Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership.

It covers road, rail, ports, the airport, electric vehicles, buses, cycling and walking, digital infrastructure and the electric vehicle charging network.

“The new plan outlines a clear vision for how we can improve transport connectivity in Cumbria that will benefit our residents, businesses, and 47 million tourists that visit us every year,” says the council’s executive director for economy and infrastructure Angela Jones.

“Importantly, it respects the special natural environment we have here in Cumbria and the need to protect this by decarbonising our transport networks.

“It supports clean, inclusive growth and thriving and healthy communities with a focus on genuine user choice. It also outlines how transport can support the response to the challenges posed by climate change and the ongoing recovery from the Covid pandemic.”

The council says the nature of Cumbria means there is a need for people to travel further than in other locations for work and pleasure and it recognises private vehicles will continue to be important for most day-to-day activity.

It says the success of the plan will be dependent on work between private and public sector partners across the county, as well as securing the necessary funding from central Government.

“Long-term certainty around funding to deliver priorities would support the development and delivery of a pipeline of projects,” says Angela.

“We also need the Government to be open-minded to the challenges we face in Cumbria. “Standard appraisal techniques can sell us short as they fail to capture some of the issues which surround rurality and the need to travel that this creates, especially for unique sectors like the visitor economy.

“This plan is totally distinctive to Cumbria and is responsive to the needs of our communities, our outstanding environment and our economy. It recognises global challenges yet provides genuine user choices for how people can connect with places both now and in the future.”

The full plan is available to view and download from www.cumbria.gov.uk