Importance of HS2 and NPR to Leeds City Region to be discussed at fringe event

Conservative Party Conference fringe event with IPPR North will explore what more needs to be done to unlock the transformation in transport infrastructure.

HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail integrated with each other and the existing network are central to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s plans to deliver growth which benefits all our communities while tackling the climate emergency.

The importance of delivering both HS2 and NPR and the economic benefits for the Leeds City Region will be among the topics discussed at a fringe event hosted by the Combined Authority with IPPR North at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on Monday 30 September.

The delivery of HS2 in full is expected to deliver 50,000 additional jobs to the Leeds City Region, help address the capacity crisis in the existing North rail network, inspire a generation of engineers and position the region as an international centre of excellence in High Speed Rail and is key to delivery of ambitious plans for Leeds Station, making it a world class gateway for the City Region that is at the heart of the UK’s rail network.

The eastern leg alone is expected to contribute to annual GDP benefits of more than £600m and bring eight million people and four million jobs within an hour’s travelling time.

Delivery of HS2 will provide essential infrastructure for Northern Powerhouse Rail which, with a new line between Leeds and Manchester through Bradford, will bring the benefits of vital additional trans-Pennine capacity and faster journey times and add £3.4bn a year to the North’s economy.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority is a partner in the Connecting Britain campaign supporting the delivery of HS2 in full and integrated with Northern Powerhouse Rail. 

Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Lead, said:

“The suggestion that there could be an either/or choice between HS2 and NPR is to fundamentally misunderstand the integrated nature of these projects and the need for both as essential building blocks for the economic growth we need for our communities and the country.

“We need the uncertainty over HS2 to be lifted quickly so we can focus on how this project’s transformative benefits are delivered to the North and Midlands as quickly as possible.”

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said:

“Both Northern Powerhouse Rail, with a line through Bradford City Centre, and HS2 are central to our growth ambitions by improving the capacity, resilience and journey times between towns and cities across the North and Midlands.

“The disastrous consequences of decades of underinvestment in the North’s rail network have been demonstrated vividly in the experiences of passengers over the last year. NPR and HS2 are essential to creating the modern reliable transport network our communities need and deserve and to delivering growth which benefits the whole of the UK.”

The fringe event The Transport Infrastructure Revolution: Why We Need It and How We Can Get It will take place at 6pm at Manchester Central, Exchange 7 on Monday 30 September. The speakers will be:

  • Vicky Ford MP, Chair, APPG on Infrastructure
  • Jamie Greene MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity
  • Helen Pidd, North of England Editor, the Guardian 
  • Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail Director, Transport for the North 
  • Ben Still, Managing Director, West Yorkshire Combined Authority
  • Chair: Arianna Giovannini, Interim Director, IPPR North