HS2 will go ahead alongside radical improvements to local transport networks all across the country, the PM Boris Johnson confirmed yesterday.
In a statement to Parliament he set out that after careful consideration of the independent Oakervee review, the decision has been taken to proceed with HS2. With the right reforms in place, HS2 will become the spine of the country’s transport network, bringing our biggest cities closer together, boosting productivity and rebalancing opportunity fairly across the country.
Alongside this, the PM outlined his vision for a revolution in local transport to ensure that towns and cities in every region have the modern, joined up network needed to fire up economic growth.
A multibillion pound package to transform buses and cycling will deliver at least 4,000 new Zero Emission buses, higher frequency services (including evenings and weekends), more affordable, simpler fares, and new priority schemes to make routes more efficient.
The £5bn in new funding will also help build over 250 miles of new, high quality separated cycle routes, and dozens of ‘Mini-Holland’ schemes to make town centres safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
The PM also pledged further upgrades for local connections including:
- Cutting congestion and boosting the local road network across the country by accelerating local schemes to the next stage of development, from Hartlepool and Cheadle in the North to Melksham to Salisbury in the South West
- Upgrading Bristol East Junction station to tackle a major pinch point in the South West rail network, so that passengers can travel in and out of Bristol more easily
- Taking forward work to improve the A1 north of Newcastle, strengthening the link to the Scottish Border
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Delivering better, faster and more reliable transport connections is the way to close the opportunity gap across this country. But it is not and never will be an ‘either/or’ between big projects and local services.
“Dramatic improvements to local transport and the decision to proceed with HS2 will shift this country’s centre of gravity away from the capital and transform connectivity between our towns and cities. I am drawing a clear line under the mismanagement of the past – HS2 must be delivered more efficiently and cost-effectively so that communities feel its benefits more quickly, particularly those in the North.”