Why HS2 for the north is vital for our future economy
5 February 2019
Cheshire East Council leader Councillor Rachel Bailey, visited London recently to discuss HS2 and how its arrival to areas outside of London, including Cheshire East, is vital for the future economy.
The event, held at Westminster on Thursday 24 January, saw representatives from a range of organisations, from Midlands Engine, Northern Powerhouse Partnership and Core Cities UK to party leaders. All with an aim of calling on them to publicly commit to deliver HS2 in full, from the West Midlands to the East Midlands, Manchester and Leeds.
Cllr Bailey said: “HS2 is vital to the future economies of the Midlands and North. Nationally, it is expected to generate around £92 billion in benefits to the UK economy, stopping at 25 stations, and connecting 30 million people with faster, easier and more-reliable travel.
“Over 7,000 jobs have been created already by HS2, and at its peak construction stage, 30,000 jobs will be created of which 70 per cent will be outside of London.
“We can already see the exciting opportunities and potential for growth it can bring to the borough of Cheshire East and areas like ours. These areas shouldn’t be denied the job growth and opportunities that are already being seen in the West Midlands.
“HS2 connects eight out of the countries ten biggest cities. When linked in with crucial upgrades to the existing network, like northern powerhouse rail and midlands rail hub, all ten cities will be connected more closely than ever before. This will be a key force in helping to rebalance the UK economy.
“At Cheshire East this creates not only an investment opportunity, but also gives us the chance to develop our local area as a quality destination, with much to offer visitors, businesses and more.
“However, what we must not loose sight of is the impact HS2 has on our environment and the importance of our ecology. A green corridor is set to be created along the route. For phase one, this involves planting seven million trees and shrubs. We expect something similar, with assurances, for phase two.
“Alongside an ancient woodland fund (which is currently £7m) there is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for archaeology to be discovered along the route – perhaps something of national significance will be discovered in Cheshire East? Even if nothing is found, it’s a great opportunity to inspire a generation about British history.
“Over the coming months and even years, we need strong leadership and unwavering support to ensure we have a modern transport system that works for everyone in the UK.
“It is also important that timely compensation is given to those affected and that local people and businesses are treated with respect and consideration throughout this process.”
You can find out more with regards to HS2 in Cheshire East on our website.