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05 February 2016

Midlands Connect appoints Sir John Peace as independent chair

News from Midlands Connect: Sir John Peace appointed independent chair of Midlands Connect

4th February 2016

Midlands Connect this afternoon (Thursday Feb 4) appointed businessman Sir John Peace as its independent chair.

Sir John will support the partnership as it develops a Midlands-wide transport strategy that can unlock economic growth and power the Government’s vision of a ‘Midlands Engine’.

Nottinghamshire-born Sir John, who is chairman of the global luxury brand, Burberry Group plc and leading international banking group Standard Chartered PLC, said: “I am delighted and excited to be working with Midlands Connect.

“I care deeply about the Midlands and I’m extremely proud of its heritage and role as the UK’s manufacturing heartland.

“But it has so much more economic potential still to be tapped, which is why the Government has tasked us with identifying the transport infrastructure needed to help unlock that growth and help power the Midlands Engine.

“This is a crucial piece of work because the constraints on the region’s existing road and rail networks are holding back our economy and making our businesses less competitive.

“If we can speed up journey times across the Midlands we could boost our economy by more than £1billion a year, create an additional 300,000 jobs, save businesses nearly £500 million and provide a more prosperous future for the region’s 11 million people.”

Sir John was appointed at the inaugural meeting of the Midlands Connect board which took place today in Birmingham. 

Fellow associate board member and Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, said: “Good transport doesn’t just help people get around. It helps them get on.

“It’s clear that by developing a single transport strategy for the region, Midlands Connect will make a huge contribution to boosting the region’s economy.

“That is why the government has provided £5 million to take this work forward. I am delighted to see Sir John Peace appointed as the group’s independent chair. His skills and experience will be vital in helping make the Midlands an Engine for Growth.”

Sir John retains close ties to Nottinghamshire and is the Queen’s representative for his home county serving as its Lord Lieutenant. 

He is committed to supporting his local community and has a longstanding interest in education. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, he has been a trustee of the Djanogly City Academy in Nottingham since 1999 and chairs the Nottingham Economic Growth Board.

He set up a youth employment fund when he was High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire in 2011 and was knighted in the Queen’s birthday honours list the same year for services to business and the voluntary sector. 


More information from Steve Swingler on 0121 214 7073 / 07887 794 241 / email:<>

Notes to Editors: 

  1. Midlands Connect is a partnership of 28 local authorities across the East and West Midlands, Network Rail, Highways England, Government, 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships and the wider business community. The partnership is due to publish its transport strategy in March next year.

2.  The Midlands has: 

  • A third of all UK manufacturing jobs
  • Exports worth £50 billion a year - 16% of all UK exports
  • 20 universities with links to emerging sectors 
  • A population set to grow by 10% over the next 20 years
  • A travel time within four hours to 90 per cent of UK businesses
  • The UK’s biggest ‘pure’ freight airport at East Midlands 
  • Birmingham Airport - one of just seven in the UK to serve more than 10 million passengers a year
  1. Research carried out by Midlands Connect has shown that cutting journey times on key Midland routes by 20 per cent over the next 20 years could yield local business savings of £460 million a year, increase annual economic activity in the region by £1.1 billion, create 306,000 additional jobs and benefit the labour market by £33 million a year.

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