RIA Nations & Regions celebrates 1st Anniversary
A year ago, the Railway Industry Association (RIA) announced a plan – informed by feedback from its Board and members – to take RIA on to the next stage of its development, to not only provide intelligence, engagement and lobbying services at a national level, but also to develop a UK Nations & Regions offering.
Since October 2021 we have begun rolling out six new RIA networks around the country – in Scotland, Wales & Western, Northern Ireland, North, Midlands & Eastern, and London & South – providing dedicated resources to develop business development engagement, advocacy, events and member leadership groups in the various nations and regions of the UK.
Since then, we have held numerous Nations & Regions roundtables and events around the UK, including with senior political players like Transport Select Committee Chair Huw Merriman MP, Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer MP, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, and Scottish Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth MSP. We have developed leadership groups in Scotland and the North, and are currently progressing similar groups in Midlands & Eastern, Wales & Western, and London & South. At the time of writing, we are arranging a high-level Scottish Reception in Westminster and Scotland and Northern conferences before the end of 2022.
All this activity shows RIA increasing its reach and influence at a more local level, in addition to its UK-focused activity, enabling the RIA team and members to identify opportunities to meet and network with ‘devolved’ decision-makers, policy influencers and rail client and stakeholder officials.
Meirion Thomas, RIA Scotland Chair, said: “I am delighted with the progress made in the last year, establishing the RIA Scotland Leadership Group, meeting political and industry stakeholders and setting out our priorities of Decarbonisation, Innovation, Skills, and Efficient Delivery. I genuinely believe with this network we can become an even more respected voice of the rail supply chain north of the Border, as well as a key part of ‘Team Scotland!”
Justin Moss, RIA North Chair, said: “Since the rollout started last October, RIA North has gone from strength to strength, building on the strong foundations of its predecessor Northern Rail Industry Leaders. I am pleased that this year we have brought both new people and skills into the RIA North Leadership Group, and appointed David Maddison as Vice Chair to help with refocussing our priorities. Highlights include the member meetings we have held across the region, and our engagement with influential stakeholders. I am now looking forward to our ‘Integrated Rail Plan – one year on’ event in November and the RIA North conference in Manchester in December.”