Transport chief welcomes report concluding HS2 will benefit the regions more than London
A report published today confirming HS2 will bring real economic benefits to the West Midlands has been welcomed by the boss of the region’s transport authority.
Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip said the report from rail consultants Greengauge 21 made it clear the regions would benefit from HS2 with increased connections, job creation and a boost to their economies leading to a new pattern of development.
Rail demand soars
“We’ve seen rail demand soar in the last decade and a doubling in passenger numbers in the West Midlands,” Mr Inskip said.
“We’ve consistently spoken of the benefits HS2 brings in delivering more capacity to our crowded rail network, so it’s particularly pleasing to see Greengauge 21 has noted there will be economic benefits in cities like Coventry which will enjoy better regional connections and reduced congestion.”
Mr Inskip said critics had stated that all the benefits of HS2 would go to London, but the report – What will be the spatial effects of High Speed Rail in the UK? – made it clear this was not the case.
Benefits of HS2
The report argues that three factors will benefit the regional cities:
- Better connectivity with London and global gateways
- Better connectivity within the regions
- Better commuter rail networks
Mr Inskip said the Government was planning to announce phase 2 of HS2 (Birmingham to Leeds/Manchester) in December which will see journey times from Birmingham to Manchester will be cut from 1h 31m to 41m and Birmingham –Leeds from 2h to 57m.
Re-balancing the economy
“With new fast, direct services and the significant capacity released on our existing lines for more passenger and freight services this report makes it clear the regions can enjoy greater benefits than London,” he said.
“In fact, HS2 will help us to re-balance our economy and allow us to be more competitive as regions.”
Julie Mills, director of Greengauge 21, said: “What many people miss is that HS2 will allow cities and towns not on the HS2 network itself, such as Coventry or Lichfield, to benefit from improved connections to other destinations.
“HS2 also allows an expansion of the commuter rail network focused on Birmingham. The resulting boost to the economy of the West Midlands will provide a welcome balance to continued development in the congested South East.”
The report from Greengauge 21 can be viewed here.