New champions for a high-speed line

26 January, 2006

Greengauge 21, a not-for-profit organisation, today launches its manifesto for a High-Speed rail network in Britain.

Greengauge 21 intends to stimulate a debate and help create a body of support for the creation of a High-Speed rail network to address growing concerns around congestion and the need for new transport solutions to promote economic growth. Greengauge 21 has already enlisted the support of a group of well known figures to act as a Board of Trustees and help drive forward this debate over the coming months. They include Chris Green (Chair), Sir Digby Jones, Richard Bowker, Lord Faulkner of Worcester, Professor Sir Peter Hall and Nick Owen.

The manifesto launched today sets out the concept of a high speed rail network to form part of an integrated transport strategy. Parallels are drawn with the creation of a strategic network of motorways in the 1950s which led to a step change in the movement of goods, services and labour and propelled the country to a period of sustained economic growth.

Jim Steer, Director of Greengauge 21 said:

“Our economy faces a significant geographical challenge; a very successful city region in the south centred on London, struggling to expand as it would like, and city regions in the midlands in the north whose future prospects and growth are being severely hampered by inadequate transportation links. High speed rail addresses this head on. Across the Midlands, the North and into Scotland, High Speed Rail will offer a massive advantage straight to the heart of the major cities with fast, direct access between them and London and Heathrow Airport.”

Greengauge 21 will soon release a preliminary investigation into the impact of High-Speed Rail on Heathrow to be followed later by research into the continental experience with high speed rail and its effect on economic regeneration as well as a programme of consultation and stakeholder engagement.

To achieve a high speed rail network, Greengauge 21 believes it is sensible to proceed in stages to implement an overall strategy. This will require the close participation of many agencies across the country. Greengauge 21 is offering to start that process.

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