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Report identifies up to £800m of additional HS2 benefits

A Leeds and South Yorkshire City Region report identifies major benefits through greater integration with improved existing local rail networks to create increased capacity for additional passenger and freight trains.

Councillors have approved a report which sets out how HS2 could deliver up to £800m of extra benefits to the Leeds and Sheffield city regions at a meeting of the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority Executive Board.

Under current proposals the new HS2 line in Yorkshire would not be used as intensively as other parts of the line, with only 10 high-speed trains per hour. The report points out that greater integration with the improved existing local rail networks would create increased capacity for additional passenger and freight trains. This includes opportunities for a direct, hourly service between Bradford and London and quicker journey times between Wakefield and London via the East Coast Main Line.

Under current proposals the new HS2 line in Yorkshire would be relatively lightly used, with only 10 high-speed trains per hour. The report points out that greater integration with the improved existing local rail networks would create increased capacity for additional passenger and freight trains and optimise the benefits of HS2.

Other measures such as improving road and other transport connections to the HS2 stations, quick and seamless links between HS2 and existing rail stations and reviewing Local Transport Plans to make sure they contribute to ensuring the Leeds City Region can get the most out of the new link from day one, are also in the report.

After the meeting, Metro Chairman Cllr James Lewis said the report, produced by consultants WSP on behalf of Metro and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executives, highlighted the importance of West Yorkshire and the Leeds City region being ‘HS2-ready’ by 2030 when the high-speed services are due to start.

‘The Government has forecast that HS2 will create over 13,000 new jobs in the Leeds City Region but this report show even greater local benefits are possible,” he said. “This report makes clear we need to be securing additional investment in our existing road and rail networks to ensure that when it arrives, we can wring the very most out of HS2 in terms of economic benefits and new jobs.”

“HS2 is hugely important to the future of the Leeds City Region although it is important that the concerns of people who will be affected directly by the construction of the scheme are able to make their views known through the comprehensive public consultation process that was unveiled last week.”

HS2 Ltd Chief Executive, Alison Munro, said, “I very much welcome the report’s findings. It underlines how HS2 will act as an engine for growth helping to deliver significant economic benefits and job opportunities for Yorkshire.  We are currently consulting on the route north of Birmingham through Sheffield and Leeds, and I hope we can work with local people to minimise its impact, while delivering a new transport system fit for the 21st century”

The joint report is due to be considered by South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority in August and if approved, will be submitted to HS2 Ltd. and the Department for Transport (DfT).

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

View or download as a PDF File (opens in new window) The Economic Case for High Speed 2: Leeds and Sheffield City Regions

View or download as a PDF file (opens in new window) Sheffield and Leeds City Regions: Post - HS2 Timetable Option Study