Scrapping the eastern leg of HS2 to Leeds would be a “missed opportunity” for the region, according to a major sub-regional transport body.
Those are the thoughts of Transport for the North (TfN) following speculation that the eastern leg of Europe’s largest infrastructure project could be scrapped, as part of a review into the project.
Findings from a review launched by the government earlier this year are set to be released this autumn, which will investigate whether or not the HS2 project should proceed at all once the project’s benefits, impacts and efficiencies are investigated, ultimately deciding if the project is feasible.
Already, it has been confirmed that the overall costs of the project have spiralled, with completion set to cost billions more than initially expected.
Even so, stripping back the HS2 commitment to Leeds would be at odds with what is necessary for the North, and for what leaders in the region need.
A spokesperson for TfN said: “As indicated in the HS2 Phase 2b command paper, there is spare capacity on both the Western and Eastern legs of HS2 that could be used to deliver wider regional connectivity.
“It would therefore be a huge missed opportunity if the current ambition for HS2 and the benefits it could deliver for the North East of England are scaled back, and such a decision would be seen as out of touch with what northern leaders would expect as part of a truly 21st century pan-northern rail network.
“Together, HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail will make significant direct contributions to the connectivity and capacity of the UK, and they will provide new high speed services across and from the North that better meet customer expectations, as well as support future economic growth for decades to come.”
More will be clear for the Leeds route before the end of the year.