Responding to the news that government will back HS2, Chris Fletcher, Greater Manchester Chamber’s Policy, Campaigns and Communications Director, said: “Today’s announcement by government on HS2 is a definitive, positive step forward with this crucial project delivering the next stage and transformation of the UK rail network. The Chamber has been a long-time supporter of HS2 and this is vindication that this is the right scheme to help promote future growth and unblock huge swathes of the rail network.
“Reports beforehand did cause some concern with the talk about a review being held into the northern phase however it does seem that this will, with minimal disruption to timings, and backed by the National Infrastructure Commission help tackle costs and also make sure that the best integration with local networks takes place. This is how the project will help deliver those genuine local benefits across a far greater area.
“The repackaging of the scheme into High Speed North, the appointment of a Minister and proposed changes to key management all point to a substantial step change by government. We shall of course continue to campaign and work towards the full delivery of the UK’s high speed rail network and today’s announcement gives us renewed confidence.
“Further announcements will be made in the March budget and we await with interest to see what these are including hopefully a long overdue decision on the Castlefield Corridor in Manchester which is necessary as an immediate rail network improvement without which train services will continue to be affected across the north and beyond.
“Other announcements made as part of the government’s transport revolution are also welcome and the investment in cycling and buses are especially relevant here in Greater Manchester with ambitious plans already in place.”