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Government announces proposed HS2 route to Leeds

On Monday 17 July, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling confirmed the planned routes of Britain’s HS2 high speed rail line to Yorkshire.

HS2 is forecast to generate a massive economic boost for the north by increasing productivity and creating new business opportunities.

By providing new routes for intercity services, HS2 will free-up space on existing railways for new commuter, regional and freight services, helping to take lorries off local roads. This will free up local services, meaning more comfort, more seats and more trains for passengers across the north.

Capacity

West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Chair Cllr Keith Wakefield said: “This announcement represents real progress on HS2 which, by providing much-needed extra rail capacity, will transform West Yorkshire’s transport system and deliver a huge boost to the Leeds City Region economy.

“The benefits of HS2 should be felt right across our Region through greater integration with Transport for the North’s Northern Powerhouse Rail network.

“We will now examine these proposals closely and prepare a thorough response to ensure the best results and benefits for residents and businesses right across the City Region are taken into consideration.

“At the same time it is important that HS2 Ltd works with communities along the route on the local impacts and implications.”

Commitment

Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said: “We welcome this announcement from the Transport Secretary, and especially his commitment to using HS2 as a key economic driver to rebalance the national economy. The HS2 project must be completed in full and as soon as possible, and we will continue to call for full confirmation of the HS2 eastern leg and for work to start on it early in order for the benefits to be felt by all areas.

“We also call on government to support our plans for regeneration of South Bank Leeds, and for transforming Leeds Station, already the north’s most significant transport hub, and the local rail and transport network, to spread the benefits of HS2 across Leeds City Region.

“HS2 East offers transformational opportunities for the local, regional and national economy through better connectivity, shorter journey times and improved onward services to Scotland, so is it vital it is delivered in full.

“We still recognise the impact that the construction of HS2 will have on individuals, communities and businesses in Leeds; and will continue to work with HS2 and government to minimise and mitigate the impact of the project.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "Britain’s new railway line will bring huge economic benefits across the country and help ensure this government delivers on its promise to spread wealth beyond London and the south-east."

Rebalancing

Writing in The Mirror newspaper, Director of Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) North Ed Cox describes HS2 as "a crucial piece in the jigsaw of rebalancing our economy”.

“Firstly, we need to make sure this doesn’t only benefit big cities that get a station. We need to invest in the links that will connect towns and cities with HS2 hubs,” he writes.

“Secondly, we need to push forward with plans to develop HS3 (Northern Powerhouse Rail) to connect east and west.

“And thirdly, we need to use HS2 to boost local jobs and skills. This means valuing apprenticeships and technical education as well as the academic route.”

Catalyst

David Higgins, Chairman of HS2 Ltd said: “Today we have taken a huge step forward in connecting 8 of our largest cities, freeing up space on our railways and building a catalyst for growth across the country. Once completed 30 million people will be served by HS2 across over 25 stations, helping to change the economic geography of the country, and bring prosperity to the midlands, the north, and beyond.”

You can read more about the Government's latest proposals on the Gov.uk website (opens in new tab).
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