HS2: time to move forward

9 January, 2012

The day before Secretary of State Justine Greening is expected to announce the go-ahead for HS2, Greengauge 21 reaffirmed its support for Government plans.

“Now is the time to stop debating whether or not there is a case for HS2,” said Jim Steer, Director of Greengauge 21. “The Secretary of State has come to a clear decision based on a huge amount of analysis and a very extensive, fair and open public consultation exercise.” Objectors have had every chance to advance their arguments – which have been given extensive media coverage. “Speaking on behalf of our Public Interest Group that supports the creation of a national HSR network, we are grateful that Ministers have resolved to act in what is clearly the overwhelming national interest”, he added.

“We have worked with the support of stakeholders across Britain to support HS2, which we regard as the critical ‘second step’ in the creation of a national HSR network”, Jim Steer added.

“Thankfully, despite some differing emphases, it is clear that all the major political parties in Westminster recognise that at a time of austerity it is still essential to invest in the key elements of national infrastructure, to aid and to accommodate economic recovery.”

Jim Steer added: “We can now move confidently into the next stage of the HS2 project, and leave behind any thought that perhaps after yet more studies a different preferred route might emerge. The task ahead is all about smart planning: ensuring that the nation capitalises on the investment in HS2, and that it is refined in the run-up to the Parliamentary Bill stage with detailed arrangements for environmental mitigation and taking any opportunities available to reduce the costs and disruption involved in implementation.”

“Now is the time to start to ensure that the full benefits of HS2 are captured –  not only for the users of the new high-speed services across the West Midlands, North West, Scotland and London – but also for those who will get better services because of the capacity that will be freed-up on the existing West Coast Main Line.”