Mark Thurston, Chief Executive of HS2 said in his update to the transport select committee that they had been told by the Department for Transport to only focus on the western leg of HS2.
Chamber policy adviser, Marianne O’Sullivan comments:
“It is deeply concerning to hear that the eastern leg of HS2 may be scaled back or scrapped. Doing so will increase regional disparities and do nothing to improve rail connections in the region. We need both the east and west sections completed to truly level up the North’s rail infrastructure.
“The North East has faced historic under-investment in its transport network. Better connections will increase productivity and help to encourage more trade between northern cities as well as giving people a wider choice of employment opportunities, encouraging them to stay and work in the region.
“The Government must publish its Integrated Rail Plan immediately and commit to the eastern leg of HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and upgrades to the East Coast Main Line.
“Without investment our region’s potential will continue to be held back by out-dated infrastructure. We need Government to be ambitious in its ‘build back better’ programme and commit to investing in transformational projects for the North to build a truly fair recovery.”