October 27th 09.00
To the news editor
PRESS RELEASE: (immediate)
The Hannah Mitchell Foundation has welcomed the report by Sir David Higgins on improved rail links across the North of England, with some major caveats.
Prof. Paul Salveson, secretary of the Foundation and a well-respected transport academic, said: “The proposed ‘HS3’ east-west high-speed line will be good for the North of England providing it is carried out in a way that gives maximum benefit to all of the North and not just the major cities. This has to be more than a pre-election gimmick and the project needs to involve all the relevant local authorities, not just the major cities. The lack of regional government for the North highlights the need for strategic governance of this project. The proposed ‘Transport for the North’ body is exactly the sort of agency we are saying should be democratically accountable.”
The Foundation stresses:
- The route of the new high-speed line needs to take into account of the local communities and the environment, and minimise disruption. Using the former Woodhead line across the Pennines deserves serious consideration
- There must be proper connectivity between the proposed HS2 high-speed line and the HS3 route, with direct links at Manchester and Leeds between the two networks
- The high-speed line must be developed as part of an expanding Northern network which means a major improvement on the poor quality rolling stock passengers currently have to put up with. The North needs an integrated, joined-up transport network; HS3 should not be an excuse for the Government to ignore the urgent need for the upgrade of existing services and other route re-openings e.g. Skipton-Colne
- The construction phase should benefit Northern companies and it should be used to as a boost to high-tech manufacturing in the region by a firm commitment to ensure local companies are encouraged to compete for tenders for everything from infrastructure to rolling stock
- A high-speed rail link should not be a distraction from the need to focus on an
- Ultimately, however, the North’s transport needs are best considered by the people of the North. We should have the tax-raising powers to be able invest in our own transport and the ability to use our own assets to raise finance to fund the projects we need.
More: Paul Salveson 07795 008691