Transport secretary warns of approaching ‘crunch-point’ and says new line will deliver essential extra capacity, adding ‘the case is stronger than ever’

 

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Chris Grayling made a firm commitment to HS2 this week. Speaking at a conference in London, the transport secretary said: “We need HS2 more than ever, for the capacity it will bring, the space it will create elsewhere on our transport network, the boost it will give to the economy and the jobs it will create.”

It had been suggested that the government might withdraw its support for the project in the wake of June’s vote to leave the European Union. But Grayling argued that the extra capacity that HS2 will deliver is essential. “We’re facing a rapidly approaching crunch-point,” he warned.

Grayling continued: “Imagine what Britain in 2033 will look like without HS2 … We will be relying on a network whose components in places will be nearly 200 years old, built for a population a fifth of the size.”

He said that Canary Wharf, the location of the conference, was proof of the effect that transport could have on the economy and regeneration. He said that HS2 could provide the same boost to dozens of towns and cities along its north-south route, pointing out that Burberry has already decided to site a new factory in Leeds because of HS2.

He also announced an additional £40m for communities and to support businesses and local economies along the route.

He said: “Let me be absolutely clear: we back HS2. The case is stronger than ever.

 

This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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