High Peak MP Robert Largan has participated in a virtual Transport Select Committee hearing on the future of HS2. The go-ahead has been given for construction, and committee members scrutinised the management of the project by the Government and HS2 Ltd, including the financial costs of the project and the need to ensure the environment is protected.
The hearing allowed committee members to question Sir John Armitt CBE, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd, Andrew Stephenson MP, Minister for HS2, and Clive Maxwell, Director General for High Speed and Major Projects at the Department for Transport.
Robert questioned the Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission and the Northern Powerhouse Minister on how to strengthen rail connectivity in the North.
The High Peak MPs specifically raised the need to free up capacity on the bottleneck between Stockport and Manchester and improve existing commuter services. He also made the case for investment in the Hope Valley line and the Northern Powerhouse.
Andrew Stephenson MP, Minister for HS2, responded by reaffirming the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse and explaining how HS2 will help improve existing local passenger services:
“One of the real benefits, as you have just said, of this project is not about looking at who can travel on the project; it is about looking at the wider freeing up of lines across the country. It is not just for passenger services; let us not forget the freight services and the ability to lead to real modal shift and to get freights off our roads. There is a lot of work being done on this. The Department has done a lot of work on this. We now have in place a shadow operator who is looking in detail at the impact on the West Coast Main Line and how that released capacity can be used.”
Robert Largan MP commented:
“The task of helping the High Peak through the current crisis is my top priority. However, it is important to plan for the future as well.
“That is why I am pushing for improved commuter rail services, pushing for investment in the Hope Valley line and scrutinising the Government’s handling of the HS2 project.
You can read a full transcript of the committee meeting here: