Peter Richardson, Chairman, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership: “Later this month, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin will announce plans for the next stage of HS2 – Britain’s new high speed railway. For Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, this will be momentous news.
“Opportunities like HS2 only come round once in a generation and we have to grab them.
“So far, we have only seen details of Phase 1, the route from London to Birmingham. But Phase 2 is when the Government’s vision for high speed rail really starts to make sense.
“By linking Birmingham with Manchester, the East Midlands, South Yorkshire and Leeds in a Y-shaped network, HS2 will connect nine of the UK’s ten largest cities; providing a massive increase in seats and services on the country’s busiest routes; slashing journey times; and freeing up much needed capacity on existing roads and railways.
“By running through onto existing rail lines, high speed trains will also link places like Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh. So the benefits will truly be felt nationwide.
“But HS2 won’t just transform the way we travel. It will also be a huge shot in the arm for our economy. Independent research by Volterra concluded that the new railway will deliver a million new jobs in and around eight major English cities – and that’s outside London.
“Two thirds of people living in the North will be within two hours of the capital. But more importantly, high speed will bring cities in the North and Midlands much closer together, so we can really start rivalling London for jobs and opportunities.
“HS2 has come none-too-soon. The truth is that Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire have needed this new railway for decades. Our transport system is over-burdened, and we have paid the price in lost business, lost investment and lost jobs. If we want our businesses to compete in today’s global economy, we need quick, reliable connections to markets, suppliers and labour sources; and that’s precisely what HS2 will deliver.
“For far too long in this country, critics have killed off almost every serious proposal to modernise our transport infrastructure. That’s why we have a 19th century railway straining to support a 21st century economy; and it’s why almost every other developed country around the world joined the high speed rail revolution before us.
“We can’t afford to allow them to win again. Instead let’s embrace HS2 just like the Victorians embraced the first railway; and let’s get Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire working again.”