The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has announced that the HS2 rail link will be built. The northern sections of the route will be reviewed looking at improving connections in the north.
In response to the announcement Geoff Mason, Policy Manager at the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said:
“The increase in capacity to be delivered by HS2 is a huge boost to business. Having now been approved, it is essential to start work immediately, and that further delays are avoided.
“Any review into the northern legs of the project need to focus on maximizing connectivity and bringing work forward. It cannot be as a cost-cutting exercise resulting in a second-rate service if government claims of ‘levelling up’ are to be believed.
“The announcement coming at the same time as funding promised for local bus routes and cycling infrastructure is welcomed. Large rail projects can work together with local public and active transport systems to take people out of their cars, reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.
“National and local government will need to work closely with business communities to ensure that any funding into transport infrastructure achieves real difference and improvements.”
Adam Marshall, British Chambers of Commerce Director General, also welcomed the news saying:
“The decision to proceed with HS2 was a long time coming – so it’s great news for businesses, investment and growth in many parts of the UK.
“It’s time to stop debating and start delivering the new capacity and connections that HS2 will bring to our communities and businesses.
“While progress on the first phase of HS2 will be celebrated, the government’s decision to review parts of the route beyond Birmingham will unsettle business communities in the Midlands and the North. The case for many of the transformative transport, regeneration and investment projects planned in the North and Midlands depends on the full project going ahead.
“Business communities will continue to campaign for delivery of the full HS2 route. If ministers want to achieve their aim to ‘level up’, they must not let down some of the areas that have given HS2 their full-throated support.”