Chamber welcomes HS2 announcement

Responding to news that HS2 phase 2b is to proceed, Leeds Chamber President Gerald Jennings said, “This announcement provides a degree of certainty for the Eastern leg of HS2, bringing the service to Leeds but we must continue to lobby for route confirmation. As we enter what might be an extended period of uncertainty in the run up to Brexit we must ensure, as much as possible, that this important investment is secured for future generations.
There is already a lot of work going on to ensure the city is ‘HS2 ready’ and the Chamber is working with Leeds City Council, Network Rail, Department for Transport and HS2 to ensure the business voice is heard as plans evolve and that economic benefit is maximised. HS2 will benefit the wider city region but this can only be achieved through regional improvements to the rail network. As part of these improvements, there is a fantastic opportunity to redevelop Leeds Station, creating an iconic and functional piece of nationally significant infrastructure. Regional rail improvements should also take in the need for future development of York Station, to ensure it can readily cope with the HS2 services.
“The Government’s commitment to the ‘full high speed network’ is welcomed and should also include commitment for the improved east-west connectivity being offered by HS3 or Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR); we have always seen these two developments as complementary. As part of this proposition, the Chamber would like to see the creation of a city centre station in Bradford, ensuring this fast growing city is at last on the main inter-city rail network rather than stuck at the end of a branch line. York Station would also need further investment if it is to maximise the benefits provided by NPR.
“This morning’s announcement about the bidders who have won contracts to design and construct bridges, tunnels, embankments and viaducts for HS2 Phase One, will provide significant business opportunities. It is expected that construction of Stage 1 and Stage 2 will generate 7,000 contract opportunities in the supply chain, of which around 60% are expected to go to SME’s and businesses in this region can benefit from this. HS2 will support around 16,000 jobs through construction and related contract opportunities over the next six years. The economic impact on cities like Leeds will also be significant, with development opportunities already starting to happen a decade before HS2 is likely to arrive in the city.”