North-east businesses say the £50bn HS2 high-speed rail scheme will help boost the Northern economy.
Yesterday HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins said controlling costs and delivering the project quickly were vital for its success.
And while acknowledging the opposition that exists for the project, he said not going ahead with the line, from London to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, would be “disastrous for the whole nation”.
The first phase is due for completion in 2026, with a second phase, taking the line on a Y-shaped route to North-west and North-east England, due to be finished in 2032/33.
Sir David said: “We want to bring benefits earlier if possible, especially to the North. We don’t want to wait until 2033. This scheme will not only help London but will also make the North of the country more economically sustainable.”
The Government has also announced plans for a new college to train the next generation of top engineers to work on the construction of HS2.
NECC policy and research manager, Mark Stephenson, said: “The Northern chambers are united in support of the project because of the impact HS2 will have on our members and the ensuing economic uplift this will generate in the North of England and we of course welcome any efforts to speed up delivery and cut costs.
“It is indisputable that the scheme is costly, but so was the roll-out of the railway system over 100 years ago, which was the last significant investment in the UK rail network. Future business success depends on infrastructure networks that meet demand. Rail is no exception. The UK rail network must have the capacity to meet rocketing business demand – for long-distance services, for commuter rail services, and for the transport of freight.
“The channel tunnel, HS1 and countless other rail schemes all stand as monuments against those that said they were too expensive and too difficult: they have delivered and continue to deliver for UK Plc.”
Source: Gazette Live