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Council Leaders Urged To Back HS2

Transport bosses reach out to North West authorities

Written by . Published on July 13th 2011.

Council Leaders Urged To Back HS2

NORTH West councils are being urged to show support for the HS2 high speed rail link.

The leader of Greater Manchester’s transport authority, which claims the link would bring £1bn-a-year to the regional economy, is writing to council leaders asking them to say yes to the rail plan.

“How many of us could cope without the M6 now? High speed rail has exactly the same economic significance as the motorway network that we all now take for granted every day"

HS2 would provide high speed links between Manchester, Birmingham and London via a Y-shaped network including Leeds.

This would allow at least 14 additional services to the North West every hour, on longer trains carrying up to 1,100 passengers.

Councillor Andrew Fender, chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “High speed rail is not simply about quicker connections to the south and the economic benefits that this would bring.

“It would also take a significant amount of demand off our regional network which, in turn, would reinvigorate local services which provide essential connections that underpin the northern economy.

“How many of us could cope without the M6 now? Because high speed rail has exactly the same economic significance as the motorway network that we all now take for granted every day. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build for our future and we don’t want to miss it.”

Cllr Fender is asking every local authority in the North West to pass formal resolutions in support – and respond positively to the government’s consultation before its July 29 deadline.

In his letter he adds: “It has been the long term view of politicians both nationally and locally that there is a real need to rebalance the economy outside of the South East. As the second largest economy outside of the South East, the North West is amongst those regions best placed to meet this challenge.

“High Speed Rail 2 is a key opportunity that would really benefit the North West economy as it would release capacity along the extremely busy West Coast mainline and therefore allow businesses to access new and diversified markets.

“High Speed Rail 2 would be pivotal in the process of closing the £30bn productivity gap between our region and the South East.”

Cllr Fender added: “We simply cannot afford for the significance of High Speed Rail to be lost among parochial arguments. Just as support and bold decision-making gave us the M6 and the M60, high speed rail will be fundamental to the success of the regional and national economy.

“I am writing to every council in the region: to make sure our voice is heard loud and clear and to make sure that the chance to close a £30bn gap is not lost.”

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Robin PowellJuly 14th 2011.

The potential benefits to the North West of HS2 have been hugely exaggerated. Far from narrowing the north-south divide, HS2 would only make the UK even more London-centric than it is at the moment. A far cheaper and more effective way of generating the economy in cities like Manchester and Liverpool would be to improve local transport links and invest in ultra-igh-speed broadband. In the digital age, it makes far more sense to do business via video link than to buy an expensive rail ticket and spend most of the day getting down to London, battling across the Tube network and back again, just to meet someone face to face. When we're cutting back on nurses and police officers and making tens of thousands of people redundant, it sends completely the wrong signal for the Government to be splurging £32 billion on a white elephant like this. Let's save the money - and protect what's left of our fast-disapperaing countryside for future generations.

Calum McGJuly 14th 2011.

Bring. It. On. We invented the railways but are left with a cripplingly busy network that's creaking under demand. The 2-hour service on Virgin (Mcr-Ldn) is fantastic - shaving another 40 mins off that would be awesome. This is the 21st Century and we need to catch up with our European neighbours, reduce road and air pollution (M6 traffic, shuttle flights to the south east) and build a network fit for us and the next generation. We can't just sit on our arses until the current network gets too full.

Smyth Harper, Manchester City CouncilJuly 15th 2011.

If you visit


you can register that you're in favour of High Speed Rail and that will go towards the government's consultation. It only takes a minute.

Smyth Harper
Head of News
Manchester City Council

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