The Eastern Route of the High Speed 2 network stands to deliver the highest return on investment of the entire network.
Building HS2 from Birmingham, along the eastern route, stands to deliver overwhelming economic benefits both for the areas along the route and for the national economy, according to research carried out by the Eastern Network Partnership, comprised of councils and Local Enterprise Partnerships across the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East.
The Government is proposing to build a Y-shaped network which would link London to Birmingham before splitting into two routes, one to Manchester and an eastern route through the East Midlands, South Yorkshire and on to Leeds with a direct link to York and on to Tyneside and Scotland.
Independent research has concluded that every pound spent building the eastern route of HS2 would generate £5.60 in benefits – more than double the return of £2.60 for the western route to Manchester. The eastern route offers the best value for money of the whole network.
The eastern route of HS2 covers a huge swathe of the country with an area of 8.6 million people and 3.6 million jobs. Research found it would deliver a £4 billion-plus boost to the economy every year.
But the Eastern Network Partnership believes that investing in HS2 should not come at the expense of investment in the existing rail network as it is only by making sure the HS2 network is well connected to the existing network that the benefits of the new line will be maximised.
Cllr Jon Collins, Chair of the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board said:
“The eastern route of HS2 is key to the success of the whole project. If we get it right it will have huge economic benefits, not just for the East Midlands, but for the country as whole.”
Cllr Sir Stephen Houghton, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority said:
“The eastern route of HS2 offers the most value for money of any part of the project and its construction should be given a higher priority by the Government. That means building from the north as well as the south so as to ensure the benefits to the north are realised as soon as possible.”
Cllr Peter Box, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority said:
“The eastern route of HS2 is the gateway to the north of England and also Scotland, and has huge potential to transform our economies as a result.”