HS2 gets the green light

11 February 2020

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers' union, has welcomed the government's announcement today that HS2 has got the green light.

 

Mick said: 'This is good news – albeit long overdue, because dithering and uncertainty helps no one – because Britain needs not just a new high speed rail line but a new high speed rail network. We have always argued that HS2 should run the length of the UK, being built from Scotland, and the south of England, at the same time, meeting in the middle, linking HS1, and going via Heathrow.

 

'Shaving a few minutes off the journey time from London to Birmingham – which is what its critics like to claim – was never what this project was all about. It was, and is, a plan to build a better railway for Britain in the 21st century, to free up pathways for passengers and freight, and to bring prosperity to every corner of our country.

 

'The project has been criticized by environment campaigners but HS2 is part of the solution to climate change – because rail is part of the green agenda – and will mean fewer cars, fewer lorries, and fewer carbon emissions. If we are serious about climate change – and want a true, integrated transport network – then HS2 has to be delivered.'

 

He added: 'If HS2 does not go on to Leeds and Manchester, what becomes of the much-trumpeted Northern powerhouse? And what is the purpose of the project?

 

'HS2 has been backed by both Labour and Conservative governments, by the trade unions, and by British business, and is vital to rebuilding our nation. To have stopped HS2 in its tracks would have sent out the wrong message to the countries with whom we hope to do new trade deals that Britain is stuck in the past, not looking to the future.'

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