HS2 ‘Eastern Leg’ Passing Through The East Midlands Due To Be Scrapped

Ben Mellor

Leaks throughout the summer hinted at the Eastern Leg of HS2 being scaled back. Now, as Ben Mellor explains, the BBC (and others) report that its cancellation will be announced on Thursday.

The cancellation of the HS2 line to Leeds is due to be announced on Thursday by the Department for Transport (DfT), coinciding with the announcement of a £96 billion investment in new and existing rail lines across Northern rail networks.

According to a source, via the Nottingham Post, “This new plan will ensure that we have a truly integrated transport network. Journey times will be similar to or faster than the original HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail plans, and the trains will start running ten years sooner.”

the potential cancellation of the stretch…has come with a mixture of reactions

“Under the previous plans, HS2 and Northern Powerhouse would not have reached the East Midlands, Manchester, Yorkshire, and the North East until the 2040s.”

HS2 – short for High Speed 2 – was originally planned to connect London with Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds. The potential cancellation of the stretch heading towards Leeds will greatly reduce the size of the project – and has come with a mixture of reactions.

It is a move likely to be welcomed by both Conservative MPs and local campaigners, as they criticise HS2 for being vastly overbudget and demolishing local protected environments. The Oakervee report in 2020 warned that the cost of the project could reach as high as £106bn, as well as downscaling the economic returns of the completed project from £2.30 (per £1 spent) to £1.30-£1.50.

a further blow to trust in the government’s ‘Levelling Up’ concept

However, the leaks surrounding cancellation have also drawn condemnation from Northern leaders, as it will leave the North economically weaker; with the Northern Powerhouse Partnership (a ground of local councils and business leaders) calling the decision to scrap the Eastern Leg a mistake.

When it comes to the impact of the cancellation on Nottingham, there will be a further blow to trust in the government’s ‘Levelling Up’ concept as the city will miss out on a crucial infrastructure link to the rest of the country. A report from the Centre of Cities earlier this month showed that poor transport links is losing Nottingham up to £1 billion in productivity every year.

However, the alternative £96 billion investment is hoped to make up for the loss of HS2, with Ben Bradley, the leader of the Nottinghamshire County Council & Conservative MP for Mansfield, stating that the East Midlands will be getting a “good deal”.

Ben Mellor

Featured image courtesy of mwmbwls via Flickr. Image licence found here. No changes were made to this image. 

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