Armitt: HS2 decision "deeply disappointing"

Commission Chair Sir John Armitt responds to news that parts of the High Speed 2 scheme will be stopped

Published: 4 Oct 2023

By: Ben Wilson

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Today (4 October 2023) the Prime Minister made an announcement on the future of High Speed 2 and the publication of the ‘Network North’ plan.

Responding the the announcement, Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said:

“High Speed 2 was part of a long term strategy with clear objectives to link up some of the country’s largest cities. It had been planned for almost 15 years and under construction since 2017.

“The decision to stop the legs north and east of Birmingham is deeply disappointing, leaving a major gap in the UK’s rail strategy around which a number of city regions have been basing their economic growth plans.

“A High Speed 2 route between Manchester and London via Birmingham, alongside Northern Powerhouse Rail, would have enabled increased capacity and better connectivity both north-south and east-west.

“While it is welcome that the money will be redirected into rail and other transport projects for the North and Midlands, it’s not yet clear how the collection of schemes announced today will address the gap left behind by HS2.

“It will be for government to show it can turn the schemes into a coherent, long-term rail strategy and deliver it in a cost effective manner, in partnership with local leaders.”

The Commission will publish new analysis and recommendations on the future of interurban transport in the second National Infrastructure Assessment, to be published on 18 October 2023.

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