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Midlands Connect Annual Conference

Published: Monday 04 April 2022

Join us at the Midlands Connect Annual Conference, taking place on 4 April at The Exchange, Birmingham! This year’s conference is being hosted with Reach’s exciting new email newsletter, Midlands Message.

At this year’s annual conference, we will be exploring how we can accelerate economic recovery in a post-pandemic world and how to encourage the public to return to public transport. We will also be considering the infrastructure investment needed to deliver greener, more efficient transport solutions into the future.

The conference will also discuss the Integrated Rail Plan, published in Autumn 2021, along with the government’s Levelling Up agenda. Finally, we will also be presenting our refreshed Transport Strategy, due to be published later this year.

Attendees can rest assured that both Midlands Connect and The Exchange are following official government guidance closely. We will be taking all necessary health and safety protocols to keep everyone safe during the event.

Click here to sign up to the conference today!

Or join us on Zoom here: 

NEW! The full agenda has now been released, please find it below:


Midlands Connect Annual Conference

Midlands Transport Conference: The great Midlands transport Conference

The Exchange, University of Birmingham 3 Centenary Square, Birmingham B1 2DR

Monday 4th April 2021 (10:00 – 15:20)





Welcome & Introduction to the Strategic Transport Plan

Maria Machancoses, CEO of Midlands Connect


Keynote Speech

Wendy Morton MP, Minister of State in the Department for Transport


What the STP means for Road, Rail & Technology

Panellists: Karen Heppenstall, Head of Rail, Richard Bradley Head of Strategy & Swati Mittal, Head of Roads all Midlands Connect


Coffee Break


Political panel

Chair: Paul Waugh, Chief Political Commentator, i newspaper Panellists: Alex Norris MP, Lord Ravensdale & Cllr Abi Brown, leader Stoke-on-Trent City Council


HS2 panel

Chair: Richard Guttridge, Agenda Editor, Birmingham Mail 

Panellists: Andy Street, WM Mayor,  Cllr Ben Bradley MP & Maria Machancoses, CEO of Midlands Connect




Sarah Speaks podcast recording – how can transport help us recover as a region from COVID

Chair: Sarah Spink, Midlands Connect

Panellists: Rick Blackmore CBI Regional Director Midlands, Andrew Pritchard Transport for the East Midlands, Clare James , MD, East Midlands Airport & Graeme Cooper, Head of Future Markets at National Grid



Keynote Speech

Louise Haigh MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport



Levelling up & transport

Chair: Hannah Al-Othman, Sunday Times

Panellists: Baroness Nicky Morgan, Elliot Shaw, Executive Director for Strategy and Planning at National Highways and Darren Caplan, Chief Executive, Railway Industry Association, Leader of Staffordshire County Council Cllr Alan White


Coffee Break


Transport Strategy Update

Simon Statham, Chief Technical Officer


Closing speech: Sir John Peace


Close of event