Sahar Rezazadeh 6.00am
Like many decisive policies, the High Speed Rail link has received plenty of criticism and praise from all angles.
On the one hand, some oppose HS2 for being noisy and disruptive, and for failing to make good business, economic or environmental sense.
On the other hand, it is believed to be a vital investment in Britain’s future and paving the way for regeneration of Britain’s ailing infrastructure in order to assist growth, as David Cowan mentioned on these pages.
Critics and sceptics of HS2 have raised a number of alternatives - see here from Nik Darlington - but would they actually fulfill the prime objectives of High speed 2?
One of the principal objectives of HS2 is to provide additional transport capacity to cater for growth in demand, outlined by Stuart Baldock. Forecasts suggest that in 2043, approximately 136,000 passengers would travel on HS2 each day (46.2 million each year) on the section between Birmingham Interchange and Old Oak Common. Of the people forecasted to use HS2, 65 per cent would switch from existing rail services, 7 per cent from cars, 6 per cent from the air, while 22 per cent would be entirely new.
Furthermore, research by KPMG reported that HS2 would generate 22,000 jobs for the West Midlands and increase the region’s economic output by £1.5 billion per year.
The Institute of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) response to the Department for Transport’s consultation was positive, outlining some of the key benefits of the Curzon Street Terminus in Birmingham. HS2 would act as a catalyst for the development of the Eastside Quarter of Birmingham City Centre, which is currently derelict industrial land and buildings.
HS2 will not only benefit London, as has been suggested by critics.
The ICE went further and said that a full ‘Y’ route would lay the foundations for a High Speed Rail network, improving connectivity and integration between major British cities and the European rail network.
A recent survey by Birmingham City Council found that the majority of residents living along the proposed new High Speed Rail link route in Birmingham are in favour of the scheme. More than half of respondents are in full support of the scheme and a further 8 per cent supported it but with qualifying comments.
There is a demand for HS2. My feelings are that the benefits far outweigh the costs and Britain’s infrastructure and particularly transport infrastructure has been lagging behind. I say it’s time to get on board!
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