HS2 comments are ‘watershed moment’
Staffordshire County Council has told the Express & Star newspaper that the Transport Secretary’s recent comments on HS2 mark a ‘watershed moment’ -adding that the time is right to accept it will go ahead.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told the Conservative Party Conference the Government ‘cannot afford not to build it’ and said he would be ‘cracking on’ with HS2.
HS2 has strong cross party support (detailed in earlier posts). Mr McLoughlin said:
“At the start of this year, the government committed to build a new line not just to Birmingham but on to Manchester and Leeds.”
Mr McLoughlin said he would soon be publishing detailed plans for the route north of Birmingham (phase 2) connecting the West Midlands with the East Midlands, North West and Yorkshire. He said he wanted even more parts of the country to benefit.
“So we’re launching a study on the way to get fast journeys further north still with the aim of getting the journey from Scotland to London to under three hours.
“Because this will be a scheme for every person in Britain,” he added.
HS2 is very important infrastructure
Prime Minister David Cameron described HS2 as ‘very important infrastructure’ and said it was just the beginning of a network that would go from London to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester and up to Scotland as well.
Staffordshire County Council’s transport chief Mike Maryon said while the County ‘may not support it’ it’s time to work with local communities and do everything possible to lessen the impact.
Former Staffordshire Newsletter editor and Express & Star columnist Peter Atkins argues in the same edition that ‘rapid transport links….are vital to the long-term interests of the nation…..’
He has called for the decision-making not to be ‘dragged out’ for years and says Mr McLoughlin’s approach is the right one.