YORKSHIRE leaders have told MPs that the process of planning improvements to the rail network needs an urgent overhaul.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has given evidence to Parliament saying that rail planning needs to improve to encourage investment and economic growth.

The WYCA has told the Commons Transport Committee the current system of five-year “control periods” is too short, and said businesses need to see clear long term commitments.

The authority has also warned of a “disconnect” between planned infrastructure improvements, and service upgrades agreed by the rail franchises - which mean the promised improvements are delayed.

The WYCA’s Cllr Keith Wakefield said: “The process for planning and implementing changes to the rail network is inflexible, centralised and process heavy and is increasingly contradictory as it remains highly centralised while other powers over transport are devolved.”