Council leaders from the East Midlands welcomed today’s announcement that the legislation to build phase one of HS2 between London and Birmingham has been given Royal Assent – but stressed the importance of pressing ahead with phase 2, which will link Birmingham with the East Midlands, South Yorkshire and Leeds, as soon as possible.
Royal Assent of the HS2 Phase 1 Hybrid Bill enable construction of the line between London and Birmingham to start, with completion due by 2026. The new line will address capacity constraints on the West Coast Mainline and bring both Birmingham city centre and Birmingham International Airport within 45 minutes of central London.
Phase 2 of HS2 is due to be fully completed by 2033 and will include a new East Midlands Hub Station located at Toton near Nottingham – which will be just 19 minutes from Birmingham, 29 minutes from Leeds, and 51 minutes from London. Some HS2 trains will also stop at Chesterfield, 71 minutes from London, and there are plans for an HS2 Infrastructure Maintenance Depot at Staveley.
HS2 will bring huge economic benefits to the East Midlands. In September 2016, the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board published ‘Fast Track to Growth’ which set out initial proposals to use HS2 to generate an additional 74,000 jobs and £4 billion of economic growth (GVA) across the East Midlands. For local people and businesses, HS2 will mean:
- more trains, less overcrowding and much quicker journey times;
- better local transport connections for both work and leisure;
- more housing opportunities;
- more trade and investment; and
- more job and training opportunities - and the chance to earn higher wages.
Cllr Jon Collins, Chair of the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board, said
“HS2 is happening – there is no doubt about that now. We now need to maintain momentum on the project and ensure that it is delivered in full. The Eastern leg of HS2 between Birmingham, the East Midlands and Leeds has the best economic case and will also improve connectivity to the north east and Scotland. But if HS2 does not progress beyond phase 1, the East Midlands will be bypassed.”
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