Austen Shakespeare

North East Chamber of Commerce condemns governments cancellation of HS2 eastern leg

The government’s cancellation of the eastern leg of HS2 has generated condemnation from the North East Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber has stated this change from the government will affect environmental and regional levelling up goals.

John McCabe, chief executive, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “Today’s announcement gives us some recognition for our Fast Track East Coast and Northumberland rail campaign but it is still a huge missed opportunity for our region.

“The benefits of this piecemeal investment will be hugely diluted by cancelling HS2 and detailed Northern Powerhouse Rail plans. Speed is not the problem with our region’s rail network. We need more capacity and reliability of services more urgently.

“… Without the full delivery of Northern Powerhouse Rail, the eastern leg of HS2 and improved capacity on the East Coast Main Line our region’s potential will continue to be held back by out-dated rail infrastructure.

John continued: “This is especially disappointing after COP26 and the need to shift travel from road to rail to meet net zero targets. Media reports have said that there could now be more than 12,000 extra car journeys a day in the North of England due to the poor rail connections in the North causing congestion and harming air quality.

“Rail connections are key for the North East’s businesses helping to encourage more trade between northern cities, as well as giving people a wider choice of employment opportunities, encouraging people to stay and work in the region.

“I am urgently requesting a meeting with the relevant ministers to raise our members’ concerns directly and begin discussions on how we might salvage something from any future transport policy. The Government’s entire levelling up credibility is at stake here.”

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