Published: Thursday, 4th June 2015
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has confirmed that the HS2 high-speed rail project as well as investment in new transport infrastructure are key priorities for the new administration.
In a keynote speech in Leeds he stressed that rolling out a national high-speed rail network – both HS2 and East-to-West links – would be at the centre of the government’s plans.
The HS2 hybrid bill committee will restart Parliamentary scrutiny of the bill for phase one – between London and Birmingham – shortly.
The government will announce the way forward for phase two from Birmingham to Leeds and to Manchester later this year. During this Parliament the government will also make significant strides in getting HS2 to the north sooner and maximising the regeneration benefits.
The Transport Secretary confirmed that legislation would be prepared in this Parliament, looking at bringing HS2 to Crewe faster than planned, subject to further analysis and decisions on the preferred route.
Work will also continue to look at ways of using the HS2 line to introduce faster regional services and at the case for speeding up construction of the Sheffield to Leeds section.
The government will also progress plans to transform east to west rail connectivity with high-speed services linking Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle and Hull, radically reducing travel times, and increasing frequencies.
As well the government is making major improvements to the A1, M62, M1 and A555 and looking at building a road tunnel under the Peak District; building the Northern Hub to transform the rail network across the region; introducing new trains on the East Coast Mainline and adding capacity for 44 million more rail passengers.
In a separate move Manchester Airports Group has announced a decade-long £1bn plan to improve facilities at Manchester Airport which will include the expansion of Terminal 2, self-service check-in facilities and a larger security hall.
The work will also include improvements to Terminal 3 as well as create new food and retail outlets.