Including the winning and commended entries from our Great North Plan competition, this prospectus presents ambitious ideas for transforming the north of England and beyond.

The north of England needs infrastructure projects capable of genuinely transforming the northern economy as it makes the journey from an industrial past to a dynamic, diverse, and sustainable economic future. Those looking to rebalance future investment need to see ambitious, attractive and complementary proposals from other parts of the UK, outside London.

To source ideas for future northern infrastructure investment, we ran two parallel competitions.

  • The Great North Plan competition was for people aged 25 and under. It focussed on the long term, seeking radical ideas using new or untested technology to change the way people live their lives by 2050 and beyond.
  • The George Stephenson Prize was for infrastructure professionals. It sought economically sound proposals for infrastructure projects that could be up and running by 2030.

Entries were assessed by a judging panel of leading figures from the world of infrastructure and development. The judging criteria for both included economic benefits, social gains and environmental sustainability.

This prospectus presents the winning and commended entries to both competitions, including:

  • One North: integration transport connections across the region
  • Future Roads: three entries promoting different aspects of a self-supplying system of solar roadways, roadside energy-capture devices and electric vehicle charging points
  • Green Cities and Carbon-Free North: two entries emphasising the potential of the north to lead the way on embracing green and low-carbon technologies and economy
  • Pennines National Park: a huge new trans-regional national park to embrace existing Northumberland, Yorkshire Dales and Peak District parks and four areas of outstanding natural beauty
  • Hub airport slots: a 'soft infrastructure' proposal to ensure northern airports can access vital slots at hub airports like Heathrow
  • Transatlantic vacuum train: a radical 'rail' proposal, linking Manchester and New York with a vacuum train suspended by electro-magnets in a vacuum tube
  • Hyperloop: a domestic alternative, which would see the airports of the north from Liverpool to Newcastle connected by a new 'Hyperloop' of vacuum-suspended trains