‘There is no question that HS2 is vital to provide the extra capacity our rail network needs.’
Shadow rail minister Lilian Greenwood MP was speaking at Insight Public Affairs event: HS2 in the Queen’s Speech last night (May 8).
She said Labour would continue to provide cross-party support for paving legislation and the hybrid bill, but added ‘We would have liked to have seen work start in the north and south at the same time.’
She was keen to point out that HS2 is not just about London, highlighting the importance of connecting cities in the Midlands and North.
She also said Labour would demand continuing investment in the existing rail network.
Alex Burrows, Head of Transport and Infrastructure at Insight, pointed out the average speed between Nottingham and Birmingham was currently around 40mph with a journey time of around one hour 20 minutes.
In further discussion Paul Chapman, of HS2 Ltd, said freight would benefit from released capacity on existing lines. Tony Mercado, of Alstom UK, said increasing freight on the West Coast Main Line would help to reduce motorway congestion bringing about wider benefits.
Charlie Johnson-Ferguson, of RICS, said that there was an opportunity from projects including the Olympics, Crossrail and HS2 to export British expertise.
Lilian Greenwood MP, Paul Chapman of HS2 Ltd and Charlie Johnson-Ferguson of RICS were on the panel, which was chaired by Alex Burrows of Insight Public Affairs.