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  • Reaction to the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan: Joint Statement from East Midlands Councils and TfEM (18.11.21)

Reaction to the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan: Joint Statement from East Midlands Councils and TfEM (18.11.21)

Today’s publication of the Government’s long anticipated Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) is an important milestone.  The IRP is a crucial document which will provide the basis for major rail investment in the East Midlands over the next 30 years.

The East Midlands HS2 Executive Board and Transport for the East Midlands (TfEM) will meet over the coming weeks to consider the IRP in detail.

However, it is recognised that the IRP contains a number of positive commitments for the East Midlands that would deliver billions of pounds of new investment and start to address long standing problems of under-funding and improve some key journey times earlier than might otherwise be expected.  In particular: 

  • A commitment to deliver HS2 connectivity from Birmingham to the East Midlands (Derby, Nottingham and Chesterfield) and Midland Main Line electrification (including through Leicester)
  • Commitment to a package of investment on the East Coast Mainline including removal of flat crossings and junctions (such as at Newark)
  • Recognition of the importance of investing in Toton (with the potential for HS2 connectivity) to the wider East Midlands Development Corporation and East Midlands Freeport propositions.
  • Recognition of the importance of investing in Chesterfield to the Northern Derbyshire Growth Zone.
  • Recognition of the need to improve rail services between Mansfield -Leicester-London via the Maid Marion and Robin Hood lines.

Clearly much more work will be required to implement these and other proposals in the IRP. In particular:

  • Connecting HS2 to the Midland Main Line will raise significant capacity issues on the existing rail network and at Derby and Nottingham Stations which will need to be addressed in a collaborative manner with local leaders, and with minimum disruption to existing passengers and freight operators.
  • A final decision about how best to extend HS2 connectivity northwards must be made quickly in order to minimise additional blight for local communities, and in collaboration with local leaders in the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East to ensure that the local economic and environmental impacts of investment choices are properly understood by Government.

Local leaders in the East Midlands remain convinced that full delivery of the Eastern Leg of HS2 as originally proposed is the best way to connect the towns and cities of the Midlands and the North, address transport poverty and ‘level up’ the eastern side of Britain – and will continue to work with colleagues in Yorkshire and the North East to make the case for this investment.

Cllr Ben Bradley MP

Chair of the East Midlands

HS2 Executive Board

Cllr Martin Hill OBE

Chair of East

Midlands Councils (EMC)

Sir Peter Soulsby

Chair of Transport for the East Midlands (TfEM)