Even with Rail Minister and Yorkshire MP Andrew Jones confirming the Government sees bringing HS2 to the North as “vital” following regional politicians and business leaders calling for a firm commitment to the scheme as uncertainty grows around it, continuing concerns over the scheme’s budget combined with several candidates to replace Theresa May being in favour of dropping the project means that its future remains far from certain.
Those wishing to halt the scheme should consider the warning of local leaders that failing to go ahead with HS2 would be a “disaster” for local and national prosperity for decades to come.
There are legitimate concerns about the costs of HS2 and the way it is due to affect many communities on the route. But the reality is work has already begun on the first phase of the route between London and Birmingham and it seems unlikely that will not be completed. It means it is the second phase of the route involving Yorkshire which is most at risk of cancellation.
This would result in a worst-case scenario for this region where the Midlands is able to benefit from increased rail capacity and much faster connections to London which will in turn bring increased jobs and investment, while Yorkshire is cut adrift and left behind from the benefits of HS2.
Building HS2 should be seen as an addition to improvements to existing lines and faster East-West links through the proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail scheme, rather than an alternative to them.
Yorkshire cannot afford to be left in the sidings when it comes to the future of public transport.