Abandoning HS2 will not deliver alternative transport options for the North

Cancelling HS2 will leave the North without transport alternatives, says a new report welcomed by Leeds’ transport chief.

The chair of Metro, Cllr James Lewis has welcomed a report by the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group, published yesterday, which argues that cancelling HS2 would see the North miss out on huge numbers of jobs and significant economic development.

The report claims that cancelling HS2 would not, as critics claim, leave the DfT with a huge fund to plough into alternative transport investment, but would instead see the majority of projected funding going to pay off national debt. The remaining funds would be insufficient to address the needs of the North’s cities for increased capacity and connectivity.

The report puts paid to claims that the £42bn allocated to fund the major project, which will see a north-south high speed train line, would be better spent on regional transport projects. It highlights the need for a line to ease pressure on the aging West Coast and East Coast mainlines.

The report highlights the importance of Northern cities such as Leeds in boosting the UK’s economic growth alongside London. Report lead Jim Steer, Director of Greengauge 21 said:

“Strong regional centres are essential for the UK’s economic growth, creating a better balance with an economy that doesn’t rely solely on the capital. This report shows that without HS2 our regional economies will not benefit from connectivity which would boost jobs, tourism and development in cities across the North.”

The chair of Metro, Cllr James Lewis welcomed the report’s findings, saying:

“HS2 affords Leeds and the wider city region with the opportunity to accelerate growth, create thousands of jobs and increase prosperity – on a scale we have never seen before. This new report supports the argument that HS2 is the only way to ensure that Leeds can continue its rapid development and continue to be one of the major driving forces behind the wider UK economy.”



About the report:

The report, written by the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group, was published on Tuesday 4th March 2014. A copy of the report is available here: http://www.rail-leaders.com/wp-content/uploads/Great-Britain-Connected-or-Not.pdf

For media enquiries please contact:

Laura Ferris,

Leeds City Council press office,

Tel. 0113 2275472

Email laura.ferris@leeds.gov.uk