HS2 minister to meet with leaders in the North over rail plans

Northern leaders will meet with HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson before the end of the month to give their views on rail plans in the region.

Plans for HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, and Midlands Engine Rail are to be discussed, as part of drawing up an integrated rail plan for the areas.

The plan aims to discover how to deliver “transformational rail improvements” while also driving down costs and over-specification.

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HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson is hosting a series of virtual meetings with leaders from across the North and Midlands, ensuring regional representatives can voice their priorities for the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) and the current plans for HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and Midlands Engine Rail.

HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson. Photo: PAHS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson. Photo: PA
HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson. Photo: PA

The virtual roundtables, which form one part of the engagement process, will seek the views of local authorities, metro mayors, local enterprise partnerships and chambers of commerce.

Mr Stephenson said: “Our plan for a better connected country and for stronger regional economies is best realised with the voices of all of our towns and cities at the table.

“Even as we work to tackle Covid-19, these meetings will ensure we do not lose momentum on developing the vital infrastructure needed for the future as quickly as possible.

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“I am determined to ensure each region’s voice is heard as we develop our Integrated Rail Plan, to help deliver a coordinated, pragmatic strategy best suited to the needs of communities across the North and Midlands.”