On the day the House of Commons Transport Select Committee heard from opponents to High-Speed Rail, Yorkshire’s business and civic leaders supporting High Speed-Rail held a business forum on why Yorkshire Needs High Speed Rail.
Keynote speaker Professor David Begg, director of the campaign group Yes to high-speed rail explained what HS2 means for Yorkshire and the North of England in terms of regeneration benefits, better connectivity and increased capacity on existing rail lines, how HS2 is an opportunity for long term investment and the need for a strong pro-HS2 voice.
Other speakers included Jonathan Spruce from the Eastern Network Partnership who delivered a presentation on the wider economic benefits of HS2 coming to the east, Tom Bridges from Arup, Core Cities Project discussed the need for the east route to be constructed before or simultaneously with the north west and Paul Hirst from DLA, who hosted the event, presented the emerging key issues from current HS2 consultation process and next steps.
Delegates were surprised to hear that the benefit cost ration of the eastern route is more than double that for the western route, they heard how quickly HSR networks are able to be constructed in some other countries where governments simply decide HSR is needed and build routes without spending years examining benefit cost ratios, they also heard that the UK currently ranks bottom of the world league for HSR track.
Yorkshire stands to reap over £2bn in economic benefits from the Government's proposed national network of 200mph + trains, known as 'HS2', which will cut the journey time from Leeds to London to just 80 minutes.
With the Department for Transport's consultation on the first stage of 'HS2' between London and Birmingham closing on 29 July, Metro, the Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, the Leeds City Region LEP, and Leeds City Council are working together to urge businesses and residents from across the region to show their support by joining the Yes campaign and responding to the Department for Transport consultation before it closes on Friday 29 July.
The presentations made at the event can be downloaded below:
Transport Infrastructure Requirements to Deliver Growth in England's Core Cities - Tom Bridges
The Case for the High Speed Rail Eastern Network – Jonathan Spruce
Emerging key issues from the current HS2 consultation and next steps - Paul Hirst