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A modified High Speed 2 is vital to our region's future, says Liz Lynne

October 7, 2010 2:30 PM
Originally published by Liz Lynne

The West Midlands Region's Euro MP Liz Lynne says the coalition government's new plan for a modified High Speed rail link is vital to plugging our region's economy into the rest of Britain and Europe.

The Liberal Democrat MEP welcomed the announcement by transport secretary Phillip Hammond this week that the coalition would favour a 'Y' shaped high speed rail line with twin spurs diverging at Coleshill east of Birmingham, in a significant change to the route drawn up in secret by Labour.

Instead of all the high speed traffic following an 'S' shaped route north of Birmingham to serve Manchester and then Leeds, the coalition favours a separate line to serve the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds with another spur heading to Stoke, Manchester and the North West.

Liz Lynne said: "This change makes sense as it means we will get a better network in the long term. I am delighted that Mr Hammond also stressed that the new route will go out to full consultation, so that residents' concerns in Warwickshire and near the flyover planned by Labour at Lichfield can be further taken into account.

"I do strongly support HS2 in principle as I think it is the only way to combine new prosperity with dramatic reductions in carbon use.

"The West Midlands needs better links both with other English regions and with London and continental Europe - without building new airports or motorways.

"But the route Labour dreamed up in such secrecy needs to be got right and the very best measures taken to reduce noise and visual impact.

"The planned route has already been amended significantly and with full consultation next year I am sure further improvements can be made.

"It is worth noting that by going for a Y shaped route, the traffic going over the section past Lichfield will be halved, so there is even more scope for a redesign in the way the new line links with the existing West Coast main line near the city. I know the current flyover proposal has caused considerable concern in Lichfield.

"High speed rail has to be the way forward and will be a key part of our economic regeneration as recovery takes hold in future decades. Birmingham will be right at the heart of the high speed revolution and this announcement is very good news for the city and for our future regional economic development."