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HS2 legislation will be welcomed but Yorkshire business community want higher-speed construction

Feedback received on the Yorkshire Needs High Speed Rail exhibition stand at the recent ‘Buy Yorkshire’ business event indicates Yorkshire’s Business Community will be welcoming the Government’s inclusion of two new pieces of legislation to progress the high-speed rail link to Leeds in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech.

Visitors to the exhibition stand at the recent Yorkshire Mafia-organised ‘Buy Yorkshire’ business event told the Yorkshire Needs High Speed Rail team they were overwhelmingly in favour of the project. Delegates said that in addition to the improved, 80-minute links from London they valued the other opportunities HS2 presented, particularly the halving of journey time from Leeds to Birmingham to only 57 minutes.

However there was a general view that the 2032 completion date for the scheme was too far away. Many felt construction of the route should start as soon as possible from Leeds instead of waiting years for the southern end to reach Leeds and the north.

Visitors felt it was equally important to improve local rail links throughout the City Region and across the Pennines to ensure appropriate standard connectivity with HS2. Some suggested the need for a more radical approach to Trans-Pennine links than currently proposed, with potentially a Leeds-Manchester ‘top’ added to the Y-shaped network. People also felt there is an urgent need for direct services to Paris/Brussels via HS1. 

It was confirmed yesterday that Ministers will bring forward both a ‘Hybrid Bill’ and a ‘Paving Bill’ in preparation for the second phase, before the end of the year.

The Hybrid Bill will give the Government formal Parliamentary permission to build and operate the first stage of the line between London and Birmingham, and the Paving Bill will put in place the financial powers to proceed with the scheme’s second phase, north of Birmingham, as quickly as possible.