Leeds Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the passing of part of the HS2 parliamentary bill (23 Feb).
Phase 1 of the process, allowing the London – Birmingham section to commence, has received royal assent in Parliament, giving reassurance that work can commence. Construction will now begin on schedule in the spring. Today also saw the launch of schemes totalling £70 million for communities along the route between Birmingham and London.
It is estimated that HS2 will create around 25,000 jobs during construction as well as 2,000 apprenticeships. It will also support growth in the wider economy, worth up to 100,000 jobs. The section to Leeds is expected to be complete by 2033.
Leeds Chamber President Gerald Jennings said:
“While we don’t yet have spades in the ground, this is another significant step in the right direction. Royal Assent provides certainty that the project will proceed and this is to be hugely welcomed. HS2 will be a transformational project for the city and the wider Leeds City Region, but we will keep pressing to make sure that it has maximum economic impact for all by ensuring that other regional and local transport services are improved and upgraded. Investment in our transport infrastructure has fallen behind over many decades and we need to urgently rectify that. When the northern phase of HS2 is complete, it will bring our rail network up to the level of our competitors, and will provide thousands of jobs from the very start in the development and construction phases and throughout its lifetime in the operation and maintenance of the services.”
Phase 1 of the scheme (London – Birmingham) is expected to be complete by 2026.
David Higgins, Chairman of HS2 added:
“Achieving Royal Assent for Phase One with such significant parliamentary support, is a monumental step in transforming rail travel in Britain. We have a long journey ahead of us to build the railway and secure permission for Phase Two to make sure that the full benefits of HS2 are realised. This journey will see businesses right along the route benefit from greater access to the skills, markets and professional services they need to succeed in today’s global market.”