The Transport Secretary’s decision to build HS2 from London to Birmingham has been hailed as a tremendous boost for the West Midlands by regional leaders.
Key figures from pro-high speed rail consortium Go-HS2, which include Birmingham City Council, transport authority Centro, Birmingham Chamber, NEC Group, Birmingham Airport and Marketing Birmingham, said today’s go-ahead for the project would mean thousands of jobs and a boost of billions of pounds for the West Midlands economy.
Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The go-ahead for HS2 provides probably the single most important opportunity for economic growth in this region for generations.
“The benefits for Birmingham and the West Midlands are clear and unquestionable – job creation, increased productivity and greater investor appeal, all of which will ultimately bring direct benefits to families who live and work in the region.
“It’s great news that we’re taking advantage of this tremendous opportunity to invest for the future and build a 21st century high speed transport system which will link us more easily to the key markets and cities right across Europe.”
Geoff Inskip, chief executive of Centro, said that building HS2 would revolutionise travel and bring about tremendous opportunities for transport in the West Midlands.
“This is great news for families across our region which has been hit hard by unemployment in the recession. We now look forward to working with the Government to ensure the West Midlands can reap the full rewards HS2 will bring.”
Mr Inskip said it was important that Government worked closely with groups and individuals to reduce impact on the environment and people’s lives.
Jerry Blackett, chief executive at Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said:
“We applaud the Secretary of State’s decision to back HS2. Transport is vital if we are to grow our economy and ensure businesses can access markets reliably and quickly.
“HS2 is clearly the only viable solution to the looming capacity constraints on the West Coast Mainline and we are pleased that Justine Greening has backed jobs and growth by backing HS2.”
“We have spent two year’s consulting on the idea so let’s get the legislation through parliament as quickly as possible.”
Paul Kehoe, Chief Executive of Birmingham Airport, said: “HS2 is great news for the region, great news for UK Plc, and great news for Birmingham Airport.
Other countries, such as Germany, have a ‘multi-hub’ airport model – they link their major airports with High Speed Rail, and spread the economic activity. They do not stick to the old-fashioned model of just one major airport.
With the UK Government’s aspiration to re-balance the economy, Birmingham and other Airports will benefit from HS2, whilst taking the pressure off the south east and creating jobs for many thousands of people.
Birmingham Airport station will be the hub of the High Speed network – placing Birmingham Airport less than an hour from the great majority of the UK population.”
Neil Rami, head of Business Birmingham, the city’s inward investment programme operated by Marketing Birmingham, said:
“Aided by the significant transport investment already taking place inBirmingham – including the £600 million New Street Gateway and the expansion ofBirminghamAirport– HS2 will help attract overseas investors looking for a gateway to the rest of theUKand Europe and maintainBirmingham’s profile as a global business hub.”
Paul Thandi, CEO of the NEC Group, said: “It’s fantastic news to hear that HS2 has been given the green light. High speed rail is of great significance to not only our business, but the West Midlands and theUK’s future economy – undoubtedly helping with the economic recovery over the next decade – so we wholeheartedly support this decision.
HS2 will provide direct services between Birmingham city centre, Birmingham Interchange (situated next to the NEC and Airport) and London reducing travel times to 48 and 39 minutes respectively.
When the full Y-network is completed services will run north cutting journey times to the East Midlands, South Yorkshire, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The journey time to Leeds from the West Midlands will be halved to around one hour and the time to Manchester cut from 1h 30m to 49 minutes.