Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has today announced that the Northern section of the HS2 rail project is cancelled.
The announcement was at the Conservative Party Conference, in Manchester.
The Prime Minister has said that there will be a programme of £36b spend on other transport projects in the North.
Brian L Dunsby OBE, of the Harrogate Line Supporters Group, said:
I am disappointed, but not really surprised by the cancellation of HS2. It was becoming so expensive that the Government could not really afford to invest so much for so little practical benefit in the near future. It was becoming just a far-sighted dream that may never happen.
But I am really pleased that the Government has drawn up such a massive list of “local” transport improvements that includes all the following in Yorkshire Region.
If all these projects come to pass within a few years we should all be grateful. Then perhaps it will be opportune to have another look at options for HS2a and also HS2b – the link from East Midlands to Leeds on a more affordable design.
Today signals a new era for Levelling Up and a turnaround moment for the future of the North – the whole North.
Rishi is changing politics and overturning decades of missed opportunities.
No longer will one infrastructure project be allowed to distract from all others. No longer will the big cities forever dominate while more rural areas like ours miss out.
Rishi represents North Yorkshire. Like me, he believes in North Yorkshire. Together we are committed to delivering the road upgrades, rail links and bus services we desperately need and deserve – now, not in distant decades.
HS2 has turned into a political fiasco.
There are many aspects to it, but we need to think that the original aim was to increase speed and capacity to the North.
While that need remains, the problems have come from the Governments inability to manage budgets, that have raced out of control.
I have always held the view this was a vanity project and the local services should have been invested in, with the announcement from Rishi Sunak today, there is some hope that the smaller projects will happen.
We should also think of the people that have already had their homes compulsory purchased by the Government.
It highlights why it is important to have an Independent Mayor for York and North Yorkshire, who can oversee and deliver on projects.
HS2 has shown politicians are very good at spending public money but not delivering. That can be seen locally at the failed Harrogate Station Gateway project, with not a stone turned but 2 million pounds spent on consultants – from the South.
But summary though, the loss of faster trains, with overall greater capacity is a loss. Not just North to South, but East to West. The Prime Minister has made many promises in his speech today, and there will be many watching with interest if the £36billion materialises, and how it is spent. Given the upcoming election, and the pressure that was mounting around HS2, I hope it is the right decision. made for the right reasons.
Yorkshire & Humber
- £2.5 billion West Yorkshire mass-transit system: Better connections to Bradford and Wakefield. Leeds will no longer be the biggest European city without a mass-transit system, with up to seven lines potentially created as part of a transformed network, eventually linking Leeds to Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, and Wakefield.
- Hull brought into Northern Powerhouse Rail network: Reducing journey time to Leeds from 58 minutes to just 48. The number of trains between Hull and Sheffield. Journeys from Hull to Manchester will drop from 107 to 84 minutes, enabling two fast trains to Leeds.
- Sheffield-Leeds line electrified and upgraded: Giving passengers a choice of three to four fast trains an hour with journey times cut from 40 to 30 minutes. A new mainline station for Rotherham will also be added to the route, boosting capacity by 300 per cent.
- Hope Valley Line between Manchester and Sheffield electrified and upgraded: Cutting journey times from 51 to 42 minutes, and increasing the number of fast trains on the route from two to three per hour, doubling capacity.
- Reopening train lines: Communities will be reconnected, including through the restoration of the Don Valley Line between Stocksbridge and Sheffield Victoria, and new stations at Haxby Station, near York, Waverley, near Rotherham, and the Don Valley Line from Sheffield to Stocksbridge.
- Contactless and smart ticketing: £100 million will be shared across the North and Midlands to support the development and roll-out of London-style contactless and smart ticketing.
- Nearly £4 billion to better connect all six Northern city areas: This could pay for schemes such as bus rapid transit corridors in Bradford and Leeds.
- £2.5 billion fund to transform local transport in 14 rural counties: This new money could finance projects like more electric buses in Harrogate and better bus-rail interchange in Scarborough.
- £460 million for smaller road schemes across the North: Like the Shipley Eastern Bypass, near Bradford, while a £1 billion roads package in the North could fund schemes like the A1-A19 Hickleton Bypass in Doncaster, easing pressure on traffic.
- £3.3 billion long-term road resurfacing fund for North alone will combat the potholes causing misery for drivers.
- £2 bus fare extended until the end of December 2024: More buses and more frequent routes, with more buses to industrial estates and business parks.
- £1.4 bn for South Yorkshire from savings from HS2 and the City Regional Sustainable Settlement.
- £1.3 bn for West Yorkshire. This includes a £500m downpayment for the West Yorkshire Mass Transit.