Dozens of Conservative MPs have sent a letter to the Prime Minister to warn him that “HS2 will be a key engine for growth that we must not waver from.”
The infrastructure scheme has been subject to much scrutiny and speculation over the past few months, with a review commissioned by the Transport Secretary to assess whether or not the cost of the project is worth continuing with it.
Originally expected to cost in the region of £56 billion, leaks of the unpublished Oakervee Review have shown this is significantly higher, with the latest estimate revealing the project cost will be approximately double what it was initially.
This has understandably caused consternation, and the Prime Minister has previously shown reticence to HS2.
However, for the north in particular, a decision to scrap the scheme would be disastrous for transport links, and according to a letter published by ITV, these sentiments are shared by a number of Conservative MPs.
Approximately 50 Conservative MPs have signed the letter, which urges Mr Johnson to “continue with the ambition of delivering HS2 in full.”
The letter describes it as “absolutely vital” that HS2 is delivered to create “a long overdue major new railway line connecting the North, the Midlands and the South.”
The benefits of HS2 are outlined in the letter, with additional rail capacity to support passenger numbers, while also freeing up capacity on other routes also cited, which will allow “faster and more frequent services” to be introduced.
It highlights analysis from Midlands Connect, which identified that of the 73 locations that could benefit from HS2’s released capacity, 54 are stations not served by HS2 trains, and it is predicted freeing up space on traditional rail network will allow for an extra 144 freight trains per day.
Across the Midlands, more than £233 billion is predicted to be added to the economy, reducing carbon emissions too.
The letter also says that investment in HS2 in the North will allow people to access the region’s largest economic centres, much more quickly, bringing huge benefits.