Midlands Connect responds to HS2 review

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Midlands Connect director, Maria Machancoses, has responded to Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s Independent Review into HS2

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership announced its own independent review into HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail earlier this year. The review supported industry appeals not to crop HS2.

There have been doubts into the future and feasibility of HS2, with the government announcing an independent review led by Douglas Oakervee, a retired engineer who briefly chaired HS2 Ltd. He questioned how and whether to proceed with HS2. 

Now, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership have launched their own review into HS2.

The review gives a northern perspective and ensures the north is properly considered ahead of the government’s own review into the high-speed rail line.

The review suggests that the HS2 is a key aspect needed to rebalance the UK’s growing economic divide between the south and north. This suggestion is shared by many politicians and business leaders across the north.

Maria Machancoses, Midlands Connect director, said: This report makes a compelling case for the delivery of HS2 in its entirety, especially the eastern leg connecting the West Midlands, East Midlands and Leeds.

“We strongly agree that the benefits of HS2 to the Midlands and the North have been grossly underestimated and cannot be properly quantified within the short scope of the Oakervee Review. The new, compelling evidence submitted from both regions must now be fully analysed before any decisions over HS2’s future are made.

“If the government is committed to rebalancing the economy and growing the Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse, then transforming intercity links between our regions must be an economic imperative, and HS2 supported as the only meaningful vehicle through which to achieve it.

“Suggestions that the Eastern leg between the Midlands and Leeds is in doubt threaten to undermine the government’s commitment to investment in regional infrastructure. Unless we deliver HS2 Phase 2b, the East Midlands will continue to endure substandard connections to both the North and the West Midlands and another generation of underinvestment.

“Midlands Connect’s own evidence has identified brand new direct connections between Birmingham and Nottingham and Leicester and Leeds. But cancelling or descoping the project without a proven or credible alternative leaves the government with no path towards the “Infrastructure Revolution” we have been promised.”

Work has already started on the first phase of HS2, between London and Birmingham. This phase is due to open at the end of 2026. The second phase to Leeds and Manchester is scheduled for completion by 2033. The first trains to test the line are due in 2024.

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