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18 Jul 2023

HS2 Eastern Leg progress needed quickly after report outlines detailed process for rail improvements, says Chamber

Commenting on the HS2 East group’s publication of the report HS2 Midlands to Leeds and North East Options – identifying a three-phase process to deliver better rail connections between the North East, Leeds, Sheffield, the East Midlands, Birmingham and London – East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “It’s great to see partners within the HS2 East group working collaboratively and proactively to demonstrate the value of creating better rail connections across the North and Midlands.

“HS2 East’s proposals will have an important economic and social impact – sparking regeneration in our towns and cities, connecting our communities to where future jobs are being created, and driving innovation in nationally-critical industries.

“From an East Midlands perspective, it is pleasing to see the report reiterate the importance of finally completing Midland Main Line electrification in full, giving us cleaner, faster and quieter trains that link better with the HS2 Eastern Leg.

“However, it is disappointing there is no suggestion of reinstating the high-speed link we were promised between the East Midlands and Leeds via Sheffield, but was significantly scaled back in the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP), as this affects regeneration and growth plans in places like Chesterfield and Staveley.

“We are keen to learn how this work will be progressed in future, while at the same time bringing forward the economic benefits of the IRP as soon as possible, so that businesses can implement the opportunities provided by improved infrastructure into future strategy planning.”