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Responding to today's publication of the 'Strategic Case for HS2' report by the  Department for Transport, Metro Chairman Cllr James Lewis said, “This report makes clear the additional capacity that HS2 will create, which is key to the future of our local transport network and which studies have identified would mean between £300m and £800m of benefits to Yorkshire.

“This is in addition to the 13,000 new jobs that would be created in the Leeds City Region as companies make investment and relocation decisions based around the high-speed network.

Better benefit ratio

“HS2 is of course a huge project that will cost a lot of money but as we have heard today, for every £1 that is spent, the project will still deliver £2.30 of benefits. This is a better cost to benefit ratio than projects such as London’s £14.8bn Crossrail scheme, which is currently under construction and offers 2 to 1 and the city’s proposed £12bn Crossrail 2 project, which is forecast to deliver a 1.8 to 1 ratio at best.

“And as we heard yesterday, fudging the need for more rail capacity and trying to upgrade existing routes would cost £20bn and mean 14 years of delays, diversions and misery for passengers. This disruption would have a huge economic impact and the patch and mend approach would not deliver the economic and transport benefits our research has shown would result from HS2.

“HS2 will unlock new transport links that are key to our region’s future economic success and we what need to see now is cross-party commitment to this vital national project.”

Huge benefits

Last week Cllr Lewis told the Yorkshire Post thattwo studies carried out on behalf of Metro and the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive have identified how the proposals for phase 2 of HS2 can bring huge economic and transport benefits to Yorkshire.

“These benefits include the creation of over 13,000 new jobs in the Leeds City Region and more than 5,000 in the Sheffield City Region as companies invest and locate within easy reach of the high-speed network.

“Increased passenger and freight capacity on the new high-speed line and our existing lines, which will result in benefits such as additional direct services between Bradford and London, will support substantial long-term economic growth locally. The studies we commissioned have identified the value of this extra capacity in Yorkshire as between £300m and £800m.

Listening

“Metro is currently pulling together its response to HS2 Ltd.’s current consultation on its plans and will be stressing the need for the organisation to ensure it gets the final route right by working closely with and listening to the local communities affected by it,” continued Cllr Lewis. “Among the other issues we will be highlighting are the importance of effective links to the north of Leeds to maximise the potential benefits of improved links with the north east of England and Scotland.

“We also think the ways in which facilities and services at the new HS2 terminus and Leeds’ existing station are interconnected needs to be carefully considered so that passengers from all parts of the City Region enjoy as seamless a journey experience as possible.

‘HS2-ready'

“And to ensure that the benefits of HS2 are maximised it is important that between now and the arrival of high-speed links, we see the investment in our local transport system to ensure it is ‘HS2-ready’.

“As I have said previously, I am confident that the new HS2 Chairman Sir David Higgins’ experience as Head of Network Rail will mean he understands the need for the new high-speed line to be integrated into the local road, rail and bus networks so that the benefits can be optimised as shown in our research.”

Download 'Leeds and Sheffield City Regions' High Speed Future' summarising research into the potential benefits of HS2. (pdf file opens in new window 8916K)

Download the report from the DfT website (opens in new window).