New Transport Secretary Supports HS2

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling plows ahead with Birmingham-London HS2 plans


Grayling has calmed worries that the new Tory government under Theresa May would see the High Speed Rail plans scrapped. The highly controversial plan is to build a new rail linking London and Birmingham.

It was feared the project would be axed under May, but Grayling has spoken out to assuage said fears. Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Grayling said, “I have no plans to back away from the HS2 project.”

“The thing that’s important for people to understand is that HS2 is not simply a speed project, it’s a capacity project.

“We have lines at the moment which have seen huge increases in the number of passengers, the amount of freight in recent years.

“Of course it makes sense if we’re going to build a new railway line for it to be a fast railway line, to increase travel times or reduce travel times from north to south – that’s logical.

“But actually we need a better transport system for the 21st century and HS2 is part of increasing the capacity of our transport system.”

HS2 has met opposition in the form of the Stop HS2 campaign. According to the rationale on their website, “HS2 threatens 350 unique habitats, 67 irreplaceable ancient woods, 30 river corridors, 24 Sites of Special Scientific Interest plus hundreds of other sensitive areas.”

As well as sparking environmental concerns, the campaign doubts whether the train will achieve the passenger numbers needed to justify its construction.

Speaking to the BBC, the Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said the transport secretary’s supportive statement was “hardly a ringing endorsement.”

HS2 Ltd, the company building the line, is reportedly going to hand out £11bn worth of contracts this year prior to its construction.


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