From: Henri Murison, Director, Northern Powerhouse Partnership.
THE North’s civic and business leaders have argued tirelessly that major infrastructure investment is so badly needed to provide the extra capacity urgently required on our rail network.
The Northern Powerhouse Independent Review on HS2 showed – when published last year – that there were no identified credible alternatives to HS2 and by better integrating the last phase with Northern Powerhouse Rail we will ensure that we get the maximum possible benefits.
It is very encouraging that its recommendations are mirrored by the Government’s own review.
The Oakervee Review has set out how a process can begin swiftly for HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail to be best configured together to create a joined up new and upgraded world-class railway for the North.
The Government must accept this recommendation and wider report in full and commit to completing the whole network.
Only then will we create the capacity we need to unlock the benefits passengers will see on a rolling basis over years, all building towards a network that will provide connectivity which is a pre requisite of closing the North-South divide for good.
From: Claire Haigh, Chief Executive, Greener Journeys.
THIS week’s announcement demonstrates that we have a Prime Minister genuinely committed to buses. Bus investment supports jobs and UK manufacturing and delivers genuinely inclusive and sustainable growth.
A 10 per cent improvement in bus service connectivity is associated with a 3.6 per cent reduction in social deprivation. But if we need to go much further if we are to tackle the climate crisis. A double decker bus can take 75 cars off the road.
Instead of building new roads, we must make better use of our existing road network through demand management measures such as the workplace parking levy and road pricing schemes. Fuel duty must be increased in next month’s Budget.
The freeze since 2011 has caused there to be four per cent more increase in traffic, 4.5 million tonnes of CO2, 200 million fewer bus journeys and 60 million fewer rail journeys. The money raised from increasing fuel duty should be ring-fenced to accelerate the switch to electric vehicles and to encourage greater use of public transport.
From: Gail Cartmail, Unite assistant general secretary.
THE decision to go ahead with HS2 is good news for the economy in general, and is an immediate fillip to the construction sector.
When HS2 was originally proposed by the previous Labour government it enjoyed cross party support, in its vision to better connect London to the North West and Yorkshire, generating a significant boost for business.
The review of the northern sections of HS2 must not be an excuse for further delays: instead the Government must look at how the final completion date can be brought forward, while applying joined-up thinking. It must also ensure that an effective cross Pennine northern rail line is linked into HS2 and built as soon as practical.
Public procurement must be for public good and that means a respect for workers’ terms and conditions. If HS2 is going to be delivered without further delays or cost increases it is imperative unions play a full part in the project.
From: Dan Fell, Chief Executive, Doncaster Chamber.
THE announcement regarding HS2 will, broadly, be welcomed by the business community.
Closer to home, we hope that HS2 will generate supply chain opportunities for Doncaster firms and fantastic career opportunities for the young people who will progress through institutions such as Doncaster University Technical College and the National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure.
Despite this, it is disappointing that, yet again, the announcement is more equivocal when it comes to the North than the rest of the UK.
If Government is serious about ‘‘levelling up’, HS2 must be delivered in full, along with other transformative schemes such as Northern Powerhouse Rail and catalytic regional projects such as Railway Station at Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
The economy will not benefit from an integrated transport system if Government only gives the North some of the pieces of the jigsaw!
From: Roger Brown, Sandal, Wakefield.
MUCH has been said and written about the overall costs of HS2. However, over the decades of this project, a significant part of this expenditure will be the salaries paid to the highly skilled engineers and contractors who are required to bring this necessary concept to fruition (Tom Richmond, The Yorkshire Post, February 11).
These salaries will attract income tax which will be fed back into the Treasury. Also, the ‘‘multiplier effect’’ of these salaries will support numerous retail and commercial activities – restaurants, shopping etc.
Consequently, when considering the overall cost, due regard should be given to the associated benefits to both tax revenue and commerce/retail.
From: Ray Marshall, Holmdene Drive, Mirfield.
NO, we can’t afford HS2. Get the existing rail network updated – it is awful on some routes – and what about the floods in Calderdale? The people there need the money.