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Cancellation of HS2 extension is a “huge disappointment”, says Logistics UK

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s 4 October 2023 announcement of the cancellation of the HS2 extension, between Birmingham and Manchester, damages investor confidence and harms the development of the national logistics network that the UK needs to thrive, according to business group Logistics UK.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s 4 October 2023 announcement of the cancellation of the HS2 extension, between Birmingham and Manchester, damages investor confidence and harms the development of the national logistics network that the UK needs to thrive, according to business group Logistics UK. 

Responding to the announcement made yesterday at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, Logistics UK’s policy director Kate Jennings expressed the disappointment of the group’s members at the news of the cancellation.  

“HS2 was a vital plan to unlock economic growth across the UK – the additional capacity across the rail network which it would have released was critical to expanding rail freight opportunities and enabling a shift from road to rail to cut carbon emissions,” said Ms Jennings.   

“Putting high speed trains on the existing line between Birmingham and Manchester will make today’s rail freight capacity issues even worse.  

“Logistics businesses need detailed confirmation that the funding previously ringfenced for the construction of the Birmingham-Manchester stretch of HS2 will be reallocated to upgrading transport links across the UK, including across the north of England and the Midlands.   

“This cancellation is a huge disappointment to businesses keen to reduce their environmental impact and reduce road congestion while still delivering for customers.  

“Logistics is the lifeblood of the economy, supporting all parts of UK plc, and deserves effective, nationwide infrastructure to enable fast, efficient deliveries.   

“On behalf of our members, we are urging government to confirm its plans for the infrastructure investment needed to smooth the transition to net zero, deliver a national logistics network and capitalise on an opportunity recently identified by Oxford Economics to boost UK growth by up to £7.9 billion per year.”  

Voices across the transport industry echoed the sentiment of Logistics UK. 

National Infrastructure Commission chair, Sir John Armitt, said: “it’s not yet clear how the collection of schemes announced today will address the gap left behind by HS2” and that “it will be for government to show it can turn the schemes into a coherent, long-term rail strategy and deliver it in a cost effective manner, in partnership with local leaders.” 

Transport for the North chair Lord McLoughlin said: “cancelling of the northern leg of HS2 is naturally disappointing. It’s undeniable that this will be seen by many as a missed opportunity for the region, and the country as a whole.” 

Rail Freight Group’s director general Maggie Simpson OBE said: “scrapping HS2 whilst still allowing its trains to run on the existing network is the worst of all possible decisions.” 

Published On: 05/10/2023 14:00:00


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In brief

£5.75m rail freight hub opens in Peterborough

Covering an area larger than six Olympic swimming pools in Peterborough, next to the East Coast Mainline, the GB Railfreight (GBRf) hub has been built in 10 months and is fully powered by electricity, which GBRf said would limit carbon emissions. 

Transport Secretary Mark Harper MP, who opened the facility, said: "This new facility will help deliver clean, safe and secure freight journeys while creating jobs and boosting the city's economy." 

GBRf said it would be "key to unlocking GBRf's ambitious growth plans" adding that it would be a "testbed" to provide solutions for customers who wanted to move a wider range of goods by rail, as opposed to the road network. 

It is expected to create around 20 jobs in the city. 

Reminder: Southbound Blackwall Tunnel closed on 7-9 October weekend

The Blackwall Tunnel will be closed to southbound traffic, through to the junction with Blackwall Lane from 00:01 on Saturday 7 until 05:00 on Monday 9 October. This is while works continue to complete the new road layout, as part of the Silvertown Tunnel construction. 

The tunnel will remain open to northbound traffic during these times.   

Larger vehicles or HGVs are advised to use routes away from central London, where some river crossings are subject to restrictions.   

During these closures, the Woolwich Ferry will run a service every 15-20 minutes between 07:00 and 18:00 to help vehicles cross the river.  

The Congestion Charging zone will be in operation as normal. 

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