Stockton's Infinity Bridge

ANEC pledges to continue to ensure the North East benefits from High Speed Rail

28 January 2013

The Association of North East Councils has welcomed the Government's announcement of Phase Two of High Speed Rail with proposals to link the east and west sides of the country from London - Birmingham onwards to Leeds and Manchester.  Connecting both sides of the country is regarded as a positive step - which ANEC has lobbied for - as is the Government's stated intention to extend High Speed Rail beyond Leeds and Manchester.  ANEC has consistently made the case for the North East to be linked to a High Speed Rail network from the outset and has strongly advocated the economic benefits of an east coast corridor.

Commenting on the announcement, Cllr Paul Watson, Chair of ANEC said, "We will continue to make a strong case for ensuring the North East is properly linked to HS2 at the earliest opportunity and that the Government continues to invest in the East Coast main line to achieve maximum compatibility of classic line and high speed rail services.  We have over several years, emphasised the need for incremental improvements to conventional rail to happen alongside investment in a High Speed network, in a complementary way.  We will also strongly highlight the importance of intra-regional connectivity, and improvements in infrastructure and services for both passenger and freight in the North East, as these remain critical factors for economic and business success".

Cllr Watson went on to say, "the importance of making sure all areas of economic activity across the country can benefit from HS2 investment was a view strongly expressed by Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, on his visit to the North East at the end of last year.   I am keen to explore how we can work collaboratively with partners north of the Border to realise a shared ambition for high speed rail.

"Over the coming year, we will continue to stress that the economic case for the North East being linked into HS2 being as strong as the arguments about higher speeds and increased capacity.  We will be encouraging those involved in the debate and those who will make decisions on the future of high speed rail to recognise the importance of transport investment as an enabler of economic competitiveness and economic opportunity for areas such as the North East".

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