Thousands to be spent on HS2 lobbying campaign

Councils are to spend thousands of pounds lobbying over HS2
Councils are to spend thousands of pounds lobbying over HS2
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COUNCILS are to spend thousands of pounds promoting the benefits of the planned high speed rail line to Yorkshire despite the Government’s firm commitment to the project.

Leeds City Council, North Yorkshire County Council and the Sheffield City Region group of authorities have already backed the lobbying effort.

The HS2 East campaign currently has a £50,000 budget but supporting organisations are being asked to contribute £25,000 each to support its work.

A report presented to the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority said the campaign was designed to “influence the Comprehensive Spending Review and HS2 briefings to new ministers”.

The lobbying is considered necessary despite the Conservatives’ manifesto commitment to HS2 and a promise from David Cameron during the election campaign to build the Leeds to Sheffield stretch earlier.

Sheffield City Region Combined Authority chairman Sir Steve Houghton said: “The economic and employment benefits that the eastern leg of HS2 will bring to Sheffield City Region form a central part of our strategic economic plans.

“We are very confident in the Government’s commitment to the Eastern leg of HS2 and Sir David Higgins, executive chairman of the project, has himself said that building both the eastern and western legs on an equal basis is the only way to deliver the reductions in journey times and extra capacity that are needed.

“Through this communications work we will work in partnership with Nottingham, Derbyshire and Leeds to promote the hugely positive impact that the eastern leg of HS2 will have on our City Region economies.”