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Northern economy to prosper from High Speed 2, say local authority leaders and businesses

Posted: 28 January 2013 | | No comments yet

High speed rail will create jobs and boost the northern economy…

Transport for Greater Manchester

High speed rail will create jobs and boost the northern economy, say local authority leaders and businesses.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Manchester City Council and the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, along with Manchester Airport and the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) are unanimous in their support for High Speed 2 – the proposed high speed rail link from London and Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds.

The high speed line to Manchester will include stops at Piccadilly in the city centre and Manchester Airport.

As well as cutting journey times between Manchester, Birmingham and London, the line will also free up capacity on the conventional rail network for passengers and freight, easing the traffic burden on motorways and boosting economic growth.

Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “High speed rail is good news for the economy – not just for Greater Manchester but also the wider North.

“Today’s announcement isn’t just about faster trains. High speed rail will create up to 30,000 station-supported jobs in Manchester and help to drive productivity in the region, bridging the economic gap between the North and the South.

“It will help businesses to connect with one another and improve access to major commercial opportunities, helping the North to prosper and reach its full economic potential – and crucially, it will also release much-needed capacity on the rest of the network for regional and local services and freight traffic.

“While the details of the actual route from Birmingham to Manchester are a matter for High Speed 2 to decide, we’ve always made the case for high speed trains to stop at Manchester Airport as well as a central Manchester station so we’re delighted to see this forming part of the scheme.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We see high-speed rail as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the rail network, which will not only tackle the West Coast line’s capacity issues – including the lack of capacity for local commuter and freight services – but will unlock the economic potential of the North West and create much-needed jobs.

“We are pleased that the case we have made for stations in both the city centre and the airport has been accepted as we believe this is a crucial ingredient of the proposals. We are confident that we will be able to bring forward a compelling proposition which ensures the delivery of the airport stop.

“The UK is lamentably playing catch-up to our global competitors in our rail transport systems, but it is crucial that we close the gap. Without this link the North West – and Manchester – will be left stranded, unable to compete with the likes of Munich, Milan and Copenhagen who are already well ahead in the high-speed stakes.

“It is commendable that the government has had to foresight to push ahead with these plans against opposition – but the future of the UK’s economic success relies on its capacity to compete on a global stage.”

Councillor Matthew Colledge, member for transport on the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, said: “High speed rail underpins a structural change in the economy of the North of England, and I’m delighted that the Government have made a formal commitment today to bring High Speed 2 to Greater Manchester.

“Here in Greater Manchester we are perfectly placed to make the most of the economic advantages of high speed rail, and I’m particularly pleased to see Manchester Airport included in HS2’s plans. An airport station in addition to a city centre stop is something we’ve long been campaigning for, and will really help Greater Manchester to reach its full potential as a centre for employment, connectivity and growth.”

Mike Blackburn, Chair of the Greater Manchester LEP, said: “High speed rail will bring cities in the North and Midlands much closer together, so we can really start rivalling London for jobs and opportunities and bridge the economic divide.

“HS2 has come none too soon – the truth is that the North West has needed this new railway for decades. If we’re to continue to thrive as a centre for business and commerce, we need quick, reliable connections to markets, suppliers and labour sources. That’s precisely what HS2 will deliver.”

Charlie Cornish, Chief Executive of MAG, owners of Manchester Airport, said: “Greater Manchester has a record of delivering innovative infrastructure projects that work both nationally and locally and I believe our region has spoken with one voice again, which has helped to bring the new line into Manchester city centre and the airport.

“We believe it will bring major benefits to businesses and residents of the North West and allow greater access to the UK’s major airport outside London. Along with the city centre station, it will provide an additional boost to the economy of the region and help spread the benefits of the airport’s existing international connectivity further. We’re already the third largest UK airport and will soon begin construction of the country’s first Airport City, and this is another sign of progress for Manchester and the North of England.”