HS2 will “quite simply be the most significant transformation to our infrastructure in a generation”, delegates at RAIL’s National Rail Conference were told on November 5.
Chris Garden, Director of Regeneration at HS2 Ltd, added: “And people want it. The vast majority of the general public surveyed think that HS2 will positively benefit the Midlands and the North of England . Now is the time to be bold and think strategically about the future.”
Garden explained that all regions would benefit. He said Greater Manchester would see productivity increase by £1.3 billion per year (1.7% of regional economic output), West Yorkshire an increase of £1bn (1.8%), South Yorkshire £0.9bn (3.2%), Derby-Nottingham £2.2bn (4.3%), the West Midlands £3.1bn (4.2%) and Greater London £2.8bn (0.5%). The rest of the UK could increase by £7bn, or up to 6% of Gross Domestic Product.
He said the HS2 project would directly employ 50,000 people, and drive the delivery of 100,000 jobs in London and the North. It would also provide huge supply chain opportunities for British companies.
Delegates at the Birmingham conference were told that Britain has the proven skills and technology to make HS2 the best railway line in the world. He used HS1 as an example of reliability, saying it was the most reliable rail link in Europe, “with record numbers of passengers and minimal environmental impact”.
Garden also highlighted how high speed has benefited regeneration, telling delegates: “HS1 has seen regeneration at Stratford and King’s Cross worth £10bn, plus wider economic benefits of £3.8bn. Lille has developed a major commercial centre around its new station.”
He also spoke about how Crossrail was having an effect on investment. “Crossrail is already affecting investment decisions, and could help create additional residential and commercial value of up to £5.5bn between 2012 and 2021.”
He said HS2 Ltd is working collaboratively with the Core Cities, London Boroughs and Greater London Authority, as well as other stakeholders, to maximise regeneration opportunities.
On connectivity, he said: “HS2 will directly connect eight out of ten of our largest cities: London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Sheffield and Leeds.”
- This news story was published in RAIL 761 on 12 November 2014