Britain needs HS2 - new report by HSRIL

The High Speed Industry Leaders (HSRIL) have launched a new landmark report on why Britain needs HS2

26 July 2019

The High Speed Industry Leaders (HSRIL) have launched a new landmark report on why Britain needs HS2. 

HSRIL is a group of organisations with relevant experience and an interest in high-speed rail, which is committed to supporting the successful delivery of a world-class high-speed rail network in Britain. The report has been designed to provide readers with an overview of the benefits of HS2 and tackle some of the misconceptions around the project. 


The key findings of the report include:

  • HS2 will smash the north-south divide by bringing Britain’s towns and cities closer together and reducing the 40% productivity gap between London and the north
  • City strategies and investments are predicated on HS2 – cancelling HS2 would leave those plans in cities like Birmingham and Leeds in jeopardy
  • Dozens more towns benefit than may be realised – some 47 towns and cities are either on HS2 line-of-route or will get better rail services using capacity released on the existing network
  • Pitting HS2 against Northern Powerhouse Rail is a false choice – HS2 itself delivers a key part of the NPR ambition; choosing between them would be akin to choosing between the M1 and M62
  • The costs are affordable and good value – at just 0.4% of public spending and a comparable cost to the fuel duty freeze
  • HS2 is essential to achieving net zero emissions and tackling the climate emergency – a two hour high speed rail journey results in 90% reduction in CO2 emissions compared flying the same route, even with today’s electrical power generation mix. When electrical power generation is fully decarbonised, this will be 100%.
  • HS2 is crucial to tackling the capacity crunch on our north-south railways – every time it is assessed, HS2 comes out as the most effective and affordable way to do so
  • Cutting HS2 would cost thousands of jobs – 9000 people work on the project already, with tens of thousands more set to do so.


Writing in the report, Cllr Judith Blake, who leads on transport for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and is Leader of Leeds City Council, said: "HS2 is more than just a railway line, it is unlocking future jobs, training and regeneration opportunities that will benefit many of our 20 million citizens. Its construction is key to the success of future infrastructure projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Rail Hub that will boost productivity and help us decentralise the UK."

A copy of the report can be found on the HSRIL website (opens in new tab).