BCC comments on announcement of HS2 reviewAugust 21, 2019Commenting on the government’s announcement of an independent review of HS2 by Douglas Oakervee, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
“There is a strong economic case for delivering all phases of HS2.
“For far too long businesses across the UK have had to cope with heavily congested Victorian-era railways – with passengers and freight traffic vying for priority. Businesses count the cost of this in delayed journeys, overcrowded trains, uncertain deliveries and unreliable services.
“By delivering new, dedicated express routes between cities, HS2 will provide much-needed capacity to Britain’s rail network and free up space for local and freight services on existing lines. The delivery of other transformational schemes, including Northern Powerhouse Rail, rely on the connections that HS2 will make.
“HS2’s importance goes far beyond train services. Its anticipated completion is already attracting investors and will continue to attract investment to surrounding areas, rejuvenate local economies and create opportunities for businesses across the supply chain.
“While no project should have a blank cheque, business communities across the UK will be concerned about the potential for further delays to HS2. This review must work at pace with our business communities to improve and hone this crucial infrastructure project, which is so important to business confidence.”
Dan Fell, Doncaster Chamber CEO, added:
“HS2 is not a perfect project and the Chamber is, of course, sympathetic to the local communities that will experience blight as a result of the currently proposed route through South Yorkshire.
“Nonetheless, the rail and construction sectors are highly significant contributors to Doncaster’s economy and many firms from these industries are already heavily engaged in HS2’s supply chain. This involvement adds up to hundreds of jobs and millions of pounds of orders. Doncaster’s rail sector is one of our key strategic assets and ongoing investment into the UK’s railways by Government is imperative for their future success. Equally, institutions such as the National College for High Speed Rail and Doncaster UTC will help to create pathways to exciting and highly paid careers in these sectors for Doncaster’s young people.
“Whilst HS2 does not take the Chamber’s preferred route through South Yorkshire, we believe that the project is materially important to our rail engineering and construction sectors and also to the educational institutions aligned to providing skills solutions for the rail sector.
“As such, today’s announcement of yet another review is very unwelcome and will cause dismay to some leading Doncaster businesses. Brexit is causing massive uncertainty for the economy. At a time when Government should be trying to create impetus and energy we instead, have yet more dither and delay on one of the country’s most important infrastructure projects. Business communities across the UK – including here in Doncaster – deserve better.”
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