Nottingham City Council urges Government to stand by its commitment to HS2

HS2 train

Nottingham City Council is calling on the Government to fulfil its commitment to delivering the Eastern Leg of HS2 in full following the publication of a report today (Tuesday 15 December).

The National Infrastructure Commission’s National Rail Assessment (NRA) includes proposals to scrap the full Eastern leg of HS2 and Toton hub, and to terminate the line at East Midlands Parkway.

This would mean people wanting to travel further north would be put back onto the old network, and casts doubt over the future of plans that would create thousands of jobs near the previously proposed station at Toton.

The NRA will be used by the Government in the new year to determine where it will fund major rail investments aimed at helping the UK recover from Covid and create jobs across the country.

Nottingham City Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, said: “While claiming to be committed to investing in the East Midlands following years of under-investment, this report suggests yet again the Government is ignoring the needs of our region.

“These proposals reduce any chance of improving Nottingham’s existing poor connections to the north, while putting a huge dent in the proposed development around Toton, which all local partners have backed as the best option for the East Midlands, bringing much-needed jobs and investment to the area.

“Perhaps the biggest and most devastating impact will be a significant loss of investor confidence in Nottingham and other cities on the Eastern side of the country.

“We’re disappointed but sadly not surprised by the proposals put forward in this report. Suggesting HS2 stops at East Midlands Parkway is just the latest in a history of broken promises from this Government.

“We waited 30 years to secure the investment for essential improvements to the A453, and previously the Government cancelled the electrification of the Midland Mainline.

“I hope the Government will not let us down again, and will reject these proposals and stand by their commitment to deliver HS2 in full, all the way to Leeds and Manchester.”

Regional leaders in the Midlands and the north have spent the past five years developing detailed plans for growth based on the arrival of HS2 at Toton, creating thousands of jobs and transforming rail connections between the East Midlands, Birmingham, Leeds, the north east and Scotland.

Councillor Rebecca Langton, Portfolio Holder for Strategic Transport, added: “I’m deeply unhappy about the NIC report, which suggests a fast train connection between East Midlands Parkway and London, with no further route north. HS2 was never about a fast train to London. It’s about connectivity between cities and powering up our regions.

“The bespoke methodology used in this report does not appear to take account of the HS2 Growth Strategy around Toton, and the numerous benefits that would create for our region in the form of new jobs, housing and investment.

“To suggest that East Midlands Parkway would be a better alternative, despite the fact this location had been dismissed as unworkable following feasibility studies, is a huge step backward.

“However, while appearing to cast doubt on the future of the whole of the Eastern Leg of HS2 and scaling down rail connectivity for the rest of the country, the report seems to assume that the second stage of Crossail in London, at a cost of £27 billion, should go ahead. Yet again, one rule for London and another for the rest of us.

“Fulfilling the commitment to complete the Eastern Leg of HS2 would be a step toward rebalancing investment in our underfunded region. We’ll be lobbying for the full completion of the Eastern leg.”