News - 11 February 2020

East Midlands unites to set out HS2 vision following Government go-ahead

Leading public and private sector organisations from across the East Midlands, including D2N2, have welcomed Government’s confirmation that HS2 will go ahead, and set out a compelling vision for how the project should be taken forward in the East Midlands:

  • HS2 must not short change the East Midlands with downgraded lines;
  • HS2 Phase 2b must be constructed from the West Midlands to the East Midlands first;
  • HS2 must be fully integrated with the ‘Midlands Engine Rail’ proposals developed by Midlands Connect;
  • Midlands Connect plans for HS2 to also directly serve Leicester and Nottingham must be incorporated into the Government’s proposals;
  • Investment in the proposed East Midlands Development Corporation and in local connectivity improvements should be prioritised by Government over the next 10 years to prepare the way for HS2 and deliver early benefits for local people.

HS2 Eastern Leg

The Government’s decision to go ahead follows recommendations from the independent Oakervee Review also published today. However, Ministers have also asked that further work is undertaken on the scope of Phase 2b – which includes the Eastern Leg of HS2 through the East Midlands.

The Eastern Leg of HS2 will run from Birmingham to Leeds via the East Midlands Hub station at Toton, Chesterfield and Sheffield. The Eastern Leg and onward connections will serve a combined area of 15 million people which already contributes over £320bn a year to the UK economy.

From an East Midlands perspective, the East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy published in 2017[1] sets out plans to use HS2 connectivity to deliver an additional 74,000 jobs and £4bn in GVA across the region.

And now key public and private organisations from across the East Midlands have come together to set out how these plans can be enhanced, including:

  • Accelerating the delivery of the line between Birmingham and the East Midlands, enabling this part of the route to be operational well in advance of the full Eastern Leg, transforming east-west connectivity across the Midlands.
  • Working with Midlands Connect, the transport partner of the Midlands Engine, to integrate HS2 into the ‘Midlands Engine Rail’ proposals[2], including ensuring that HS2 trains can also serve Leicester and Nottingham direct, making use of capacity released by HS2 to improve conventional rail services across the region, and further electrification of the Midland Main Line.
  • A 10-year plan of investment between now and 2030 that will prepare the way for HS2 and deliver early benefits for local people. Key priorities include the establishment of a ‘Locally Led Urban Development Corporation’ and infrastructure improvements in and around Toton and in Derby and Chesterfield that will help to accelerate new development.

East Midlands Support

Elizabeth Fagan CBE, Chair of D2N2 said: “HS2 is crucial to the long-term success of the D2N2 area (Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire), so today’s decision is very welcome.”

“HS2 will continue to act as a catalyst for unlocking significant growth right across our region and support our vision for a more productive, inclusive and carbon-free future for the people of our region.”

Cllr Kay Cutts MBE, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council and Chair of the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board said: “I am delighted that the Prime Minister has made the decision to go ahead with this vital project. We will of course work with the Government to confirm the scope of the Eastern Leg, but we will not accept any downgrading of the line through the East Midlands.”

“In fact, we think there is a strong case for building HS2 from Birmingham to the East Midlands first.  Whatever happens, we must also use the next 10 years to invest in measures that will prepare the way for HS2 and deliver improvements for local people.”

Cllr Martin Hill OBE, Leader of Lincolnshire County Council and Chair of East Midlands Councils, said: “The East Midlands has been the lowest funded region for transport for far too long. The Prime Minister’s decision to go ahead with HS2 is very positive, but we must work together to ensure that our region can get the most out of this investment and to secure real improvements for our communities.”

Sir Peter Soulsby, City Mayor of Leicester and Chair of Transport for the East Midlands (TfEM) said: “It is vital that we make the most of the opportunities that HS2 presents. Integrating HS2 into Midlands Engine Rail means we can spread the benefits much more widely, including to places not directly served by the new line.”

“Midland Connect’s proposals to link Bedford, Leicester and Leeds through HS2 ‘conventional compatible’ services are particularly exciting.”

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