Growth Track 360 statement on the HS2 announcement
21 February 2020The North Wales and Mersey Dee Rail Task Force, Growth Track 360, welcomes the Government decision on HS2 subject to confirmation of investment in a HS2 Hub Station at Crewe.
The North Wales and Mersey Dee Region has a strong and cohesive economy that does not recognise administrative boundaries. Our area sits at the centre of a network of towns and cities that share workforces, business and tourism. More than one million cross border (Wales-England) commuter movements occur with significant flows to Liverpool, Manchester and the Midlands
The Growth Track 360 prospectus, which is backed with 360o of stakeholder support, calls for substantial rail investment to help unlock the full economic potential of the cross border economy and our contribution to the UK economy.
We have identified specific targeted investments in key rail hubs, wider network and capacity enhancements, in order to deliver a step change in connectivity and growth across the region.
In particular as a key element in those rail network investments, the importance of the HS2 hub at Crewe cannot be overstated. With its position at the confluence of a 360-degree network of lines, it has the ability to serve a catchment extending far beyond Crewe. Without integral investment in the HS2 hub at Crewe, there will be very limited benefits for North Wales and Chester, indeed, the overall effect of HS2 may be negative for Wales.
Comprehensive delivery of HS2, a Crewe Hub and Northern Powerhouse Rail will help link the North Wales and Mersey Dee Region into the wider economy of the Northern Powerhouse and Global routes, allowing us to expand our significant economic offer and strengthen the union.
This is a dynamic area where 70,000 new jobs could be created in the next 20 years and the infrastructure investment called for by Growth Track 360 will support the doubling of our GVA (Gross Value Added) to £50.5 billion.
We therefore wish to work collaboratively to help deliver coordinated strategic planning and sequencing of investment to optimise HS2 growth and intraregional connectivity.
We will also seek assurance that there is sufficient funding to consider environmental impacts and secure appropriate mitigation measures, which is integral to the communities that are directly affected.
Councillor Louise Gittins, chair of The North Wales and Mersey Dee Rail Task Force, said: “The decision by the Government to give the go-ahead for HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail will have a positive impact on the North Wales and Mersey Dee Region and its significant contribution to the UK economy provided a Crewe Hub Station is also supported.
“We have the opportunity to strengthen the union between England and Wales by making it easier for people to use better and swifter rail links between the countries.
“At the same time we are mindful of the environmental impact construction will have on some in our communities. We will work collaboratively to limit this impact and also to ensure the measures are in place to support those communities affected.”