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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Centro rejects Taxpayers’ Alliance report criticising the case for HS2

Centro today challenged the findings of a report which dismisses the case for the high speed rail link between London and Birmingham.

The proposed HS2 link from the capital is vital for the future economic prosperity of the West Midlands and is essential to relieve overcrowding on the existing network which is running out of capacity, the integrated transport authority for the region said.

Work is due to start on HS2 in 2015 and will see 250mph trains taking as little as half an hour to travel between the two cities.

But a report by Chris Stokes on behalf of the pressure group Taxpayers’ Alliance says the business case for HS2 has not been made.

Mr Stokes also argues that existing services and infrastructure should be upgraded instead.

However Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip said HS2 would bring massive benefits in terms of investment and jobs for the West Midlands. He also said simply upgrading existing infrastructure to cope with demand was not an option.

A study commissioned in 2010 for Centro from KPMG showed HS2, coupled with enhancements to the rest of the local network, would bring 22,000 new jobs to the West Midlands and boost the regional economy by £1.5bn per annum.

And a KPMG report for Greengauge 21 entitled High Speed Rail in Britain: Consequences for Employment and Economic Growth said the increased tax take to Treasury from increased economic activity would be up to £6 billion per year.

“The case for HS2 cannot be overstated, it is quite simply the biggest opportunity for wealth and job creation in a generation,” Mr Inskip said.

“Thousands of new jobs will be the most fantastic boost to the economy, both locally and nationally, which in turn will bring increased prosperity.”

Mr Stokes argued that the need for new capacity could be better served with longer and more frequent trains on the existing InterCity service on the West Coast Main Line.

But an in-depth review of the existing West Coast main line between London and Birmingham by Network Rail showed the route would be full by 2026, although some say it will be much earlier than this.

Mr Inskip said: “We have, together with Network Rail, looked at that option and have categorically ruled it out. It just will not provide the capacity that we need.”

Mr Inskip said one of the major strengths of the case for HS2 is that it will release capacity on the existing network for extra services.

In the West Midlands this would allow increased service frequencies to local destinations, more regional services and completely new services such as a regular stopping train to Tamworth. He said: “We need to create more capacity on the rail network and HS2 allows us to do that.

“It follows that if we are going to build a new railway line we should take the opportunity to make that line high-speed and get all of the benefits that high-speed trains bring.

Mr Inskip said there was also an environmental case for HS2 as the carbon emissions of travel by high-speed rail were only a third of those of car travel and a quarter of travelling by air.

“I believe HS2 is going to be of benefit to everyone,” he added.

“The opportunity for major investment and network improvement in this region offered by HS2 should be welcomed by everyone who wants to see a successful and prosperous West Midlands.”

4 COMMENTS

  1. Shame this Gov is not upgrading and investing in the existing lines to provide jobs for people NOW not in 10 years time. Haven’t you heard?….the future is less travel not more. Meetings without movement with ‘high speed broadband’. nnWhy wast u00a334bn on a new train line nobody wants, we cannot afford and at the expense of land. Stop building on the land – they are not building it anymore! Once it’s gone it’s gone forever and I for one do not want an 80 lane runway of a train track through areas of outstanding natural beauty, sites of scientific importance, national heritage and rural communities otherwise blissfully peaceful and quiet. I cannot believe this Gov is going ahead with this white elephant of a project – it will be another DOME!

    • the thameslink and crossrail projects are being built now and there are several electrification projects plus new trains are coming on line now and more are promised but we need them sooner rather then later that is truennand many of us do want hs2 because of the benefits it brings. and we can afford it as a continuation of the projects above in terms of yearlt spend. what is this 80 lane runway you speak of is that the total land take ? remember that the actual track space is only 25 metres wide it is not that much. and they have this funny green stuff they lay down alongside that they call grass and the other ecologically devestating things called trees and shrubs ! n

    • also i wouldnt like to be the one that tells everyone that they arent allowed to travel because we have broadband. even if overall travel did decrease the likely increases in the cost of driving and flying will mean that the trend towards rail travel will continue.nni have asked landrover if they can install the equipment in my garage as i want to assemble the new evoque from home. i have also asked m&s for a franchise that i am going to run in my living room and a starbucks in the kitchen ! lol but my serious point is that you can only do some jobs from home. also how much energy will be used throughout the country as homes are notoriously poor at retaining the heat from energy. nnand i guess anyone in the travel industry is really stuffed ! they will all be at home working for the government all day ie unemployed !

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