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Government respond to new HS2 announcement

As part of the Government's long term economic plan for the north, the Prime Minister and Chancellor gave their backing to develop HS3 - connecting the north's cities which they say could significantly reduce journey times across the region.

"Improving connectivity and reducing journey times between our great northern cities is a crucial part of our long term economic plan for the north to boost businesses and create more jobs and security for hardworking people. That's why we are backing HS3."

– Prime Minister David Cameron

"The vision I set out earlier this year of the Northern Powerhouse we could build is rapidly taking shape. I asked Sir David Higgins to look at how we deliver the better transport links across the north that would make a reality of that powerhouse."

"I am delighted with the rapid response and the report. Today we take another big step forward in delivering both the HS2 links from north to south and the HS3 link across the Pennines."

– Chancellor George Osborne


Chair of HS2: Improving city connectivity is key

"Knowledge based companies whether they are in high-tech manufacturing, the creative industries, finance or the law, have to be close, or feel close to the talent, skills base, support network, knowledge pools, collaborators and clients necessary to create the "hot-house atmosphere" in which they thrive. That is why reducing the journey times between and within our cities isn't just desirable for both passengers and freight. It is a strategic necessity."

– Sir David Higgins, Chairman of High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd

Leeds council leader: "HS2 reinforces the importance of our city"

"Without question HS2 is the key to transforming the future economy of Leeds and the north. It offers huge benefits in terms of job creation and opportunities, driving growth and innovation and bringing people and places closer together making cities like Leeds and the wider city regions much more attractive for businesses to base themselves."

– Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Keith Wakefield
  1. National

'HS3' would slash journey times by half in north

Train journey times between northern English cities could be slashed by half after ministers backed plans for a third high-speed railway.

Two trains pass through Church Fenton, North Yorkshire where it is proposed the HS2 railway will link with the East Coast Mainline. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The proposals were put forward in a report from the head of the £50 billion HS2 high-speed rail project, Sir David Higgins.

The improvements would cover an east-west section of northern England and would be in addition to the north-of-Birmingham phase two of HS2 which will see a Y-shaped route going to Manchester and Leeds.

Sir David said northern connectivity plans - dubbed "HS3" and backed by Chancellor George Osborne - would be "as important to the north of England as Crossrail is for London".

If carried forward, the plans would mean journey times between Leeds and Manchester could almost be cut in half.

While journeys between Leeds and Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield Meadowhall, York and Birmingham and Nottingham to Birmingham could also be reduced by a half or more, and many more journeys across the country substantially shortened.

"Improving connectivity is vital if Britain is to compete in the knowledge economy in which this country has a competitive advantage, but in which ease of travel is an essential element."

– HS2 Ltd chairman Sir David Higgins


House of Lords inquiry over HS2 economic benefits

A house of Lords committee has launched an inquiry into the economic case behind the proposed High speed 2 rail project.

The inquiry will consider the economic benefits of the scheme and whether London will be the main beneficiary. It will investigate the likely benefits of HS2 to our region and whether some parts of the country could lose out from the scheme.

Read: HS2 Boss: Train will benefit wider transport network

Protestors at Parliament for HS2 vote

HS2 protestors outside parliament Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Protestors were outside parliament today as MPs vote again on the controversial high-speed rail project between London and Yorkshire. Around thirty Conservative MPs are expected to rebel against the government this evening, with concerns about the cost and route of HS2.

But the bill is likely to pass anyway, thanks to Labour support.

Tory MPs look to block HS2

Two Tory MPs are seeking to block laws that would pave the way for the controversial £50 million High Speed 2 railway, saying the line does not allow for construction to start from Leeds and Manchester.

HS2 artist impression

Former minister Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) and ex-whip Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) have tabled an amendment calling on the Government to bring forward a cheaper and more environmentally "sympathetic" route.

They warn the line as set out in the High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill is "significantly more costly" than it need be to reduce damage to the environment.

They also want MPs to stop the Bill from receiving a second reading as they say it fails to connect to HS1 and the Channel Tunnel, lacks public transport to disperse passengers at Euston and does not offer direct connections to existing major mainline train stations.

The rail route also fails to connect to potential airport hubs in London and the South East, according to the amendment.

People whose homes are blighted by the route or are subject to compulsory purchase orders are provided with "inadequate" compensation by the Bill, the MPs say.

The duo add the line is "insensitively routed" through previously unspoiled countryside, which will cause unnecessary damage to wildlife habits, waterways and ancient woodlands, plus does not allow for construction work to begin from Manchester and Leeds.

Sir Edward and Mr Fabricant do recognise there is a need for more north-south services to ease congestion on the West Coast Mainline and improve links between London and major cities.

The Bill is scheduled to have its second reading in the Commons on April 28, the first day after the Easter recess.

The HS2 link between London, the Midlands and the North of England is expected to cost £42.6 billion, which includes contingencies, with £7.5 billion for the trains.

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