HS2 Will Deliver For Britain’s Regional Economies Says Minister And Leading Experts At PTRC’s HS2 Conference
High speed rail will deliver huge social, economic and business benefits for local communities across Britain according to leading transport and economic experts at a special conference in London yesterday.
Reduced journey times and the jobs that the project will generate will link more people to more jobs and businesses and a greater number of commercial opportunities. However, success will depend on providing good quality local transport coupled with broader economic interventions and planning to encourage new housing, employment and wealth creation opportunities.
Giving the keynote speech was Transport Minister, Robert Goodwill. He said that Britain had a “proud record” of building new products but that “HS2 is the biggest” and that it would help rebalance the British economy and argued that “nothing else will provide Britain with the space it needs to grow and prosper. And nothing else will offer the same benefits for our cities and regions.”
Speaking at a keynote conference called “HS2: Building in the Benefits at the Local Level”, the Minister said that HS2 will create 2,000 apprenticeships, heralds the opening of the new National College for High Speed Rail College in Birmingham and Doncaster.
He believes it would help encourage an economic focus and stimulus away from London to the regions as part of helping to rebalance the economy. He cited how the regions are already preparing – for instance, in Birmingham, the local LEP is developing an HS2 strategy that will help create 14,000 jobs.
Mr Goodwill asserted how HS2 coincides with regional transport investment role: the Northern Powerhouse strategy and the £15 billion worth of investment in rail and roads. All this would help ensure HS2’s ‘fabric’ is driven into the local economy he said.
Leading rail expert and HS2 advocate, Jim Steer, advised that “a railway is not a strategy”, he argued that HS2 is about bringing economic benefits by joining up all modes and economic benefits through increased productivity, bringing people and businesses closer together and delivering positive change to regional growth.
High speed rail would, he said, “support a pattern of sustainable development across Britain”.
The conference, organised by PTRC Educations and Research Services Ltd, attracted more than 75 delegates who heard and joined in discussion with a range of experts from Manchester and West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executives, Local Enterprise Partnerships and from economists who demonstrated how their regions are planning and preparing for the arrival of HS2 as part of regional economic and spatial plans.