At GBSLEP we strongly believe development of a High Speed Rail line connecting our area to London, continental Europe via HS1/Eurostar as well as northern cities and Scotland is fundamental to achieving our economic ambitions.
HS2 is forecast to bring substantial economic benefit to our area through jobs, investment and output growth. The new line will provide a step change in the competitiveness of Greater Birmingham.
It is anticipated around 8,600 jobs will be created as a direct result of HS2 at the proposed station sites and maintenance depot.
There is the potential for up to 22,000 new jobs in the West Midlands if delivered in conjunction with a range of regional and local rail enhancements and feeder services, whilst it will act as a catalyst for developing engineering skills and wider employment opportunities.
It is estimated that HS2 could raise the GVA for the West Midlands by up to £1.5 billion per annum once it is complete.
International connectivity is vital to attracting and retaining inward investment. HS2 will significantly improve links with our largest export market – Europe. The HS2 station at the Airport/NEC will act as a major integrated transport hub, linking to the motorway network, London Heathrow, London Euston station, London Crossrail, HS1 and Eurostar.
The connectivity of Greater Birmingham was enhanced further in January 2013 when the Government announced plans for the northwards extension of the HS2 network.
HS2 will also play an important role in addressing rail capacity issues. Investment in a new line will help to ensure local and commuter services using the West Coast Mainline are not displaced in favour of more profitable intercity services as demand continues to grow.
The Board of GBSLEP will be working closely with Government and other stakeholders to ensure all parts of our area benefit from HS2, with improved transport links across the metropolitan area, northern Worcestershire and southern Staffordshire.
We will press for appropriate mitigation of any environmental and social impacts, but are committed to ensuring we capture and maximise the economic opportunities and potential of HS2 for the benefit of the whole of our area.
HS2 carries the support of the majority of those represented on our Board, but we acknowledge the differing view of Lichfield District Council.
We support, in principle, that consideration be given to the development of a HSR station in Staffordshire.
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