Chief executives and business leaders from the West Midlands marked the end of the high speed rail consultation today by travelling to London to personally hand over hundreds of messages of support to Transport Secretary Philip Hammond.
In a final effort before the consultation came to an end more than 1,000 supporting postcards were signed and collected in just 12 hours in Birmingham city centre.
Businesses, organisations and individuals across the West Midlands are also sending in thousands of cards supporting HS2, which were distributed in the final weeks of the campaign.
Mr Hammond was handed the pledges of support by members of Go-HS2, an alliance of West Midlands businesses, business organisations and public sector bodies backing High Speed Rail, outside the Department for Transport in Whitehall.
After receiving the pledges Mr Hammond said:
“I am delighted to see businesses and residents alike coming together to recognise the enormous benefits high speed rail has to offer the West Midlands region.
“Overcrowding on the rail network has become a daily challenge for commuters and is only set to get worse. HS2 would not only create jobs, drive regeneration and improve connectivity, but would crucially deliver the extra capacity the West Coast Main Line so desperately needs.”
The Go-HS2 representatives also presented Mr Hammond with their organisation’s official responses to the consultation.
Katie Teasdale, Head of Policy at the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group, said:
“It’s great to have the opportunity to present the Secretary of State with our consultation response, which represents the views of almost 3,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors in the Greater Birmingham area.
“The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group has spent a lot of time engaging with our members to ensure that we adequately convey their support of this transformational project”
Birmingham City Council Cabinet member for Transport, Environment and Regeneration, Councillor Tim Huxtable, added:
“We were keen to meet Mr Hammond to demonstrate our strong support for the project and stress the importance of HS2 to the West Midlands.
“Birmingham City Council is a strong supporter of HS2. The benefits are obvious and the West Midlands can be the first region to take advantage. Our region can become the transport hub for the UK.”
Centro Chairman, Councillor Angus Adams, said:
“The extra capacity HS2 will bring will allow many more local and regional services to run on existing lines.
“We’re here today on behalf of our region to demonstrate our support for the 22,000 jobs, the fast links with major UK and European cities and the huge additional rail capacity benefits that HS2 brings. This is an opportunity to build for the future and we can’t let it pass us by.”
John Morris, Birmingham Airport’s Head of Government and Industry Affairs, said:
“Birmingham Airport welcomes the employment that HS2 will bring. High Speed Rail will also connect international gateways, giving air travellers more choice, and reducing the need for new runways, as underused airports help to spread demand whilst boosting local economies”.