The next in our online In Conversation With… event featured Scotland Office Minister, Iain Stewart MP, Alastair Young, Transport Scotland and Jim Steer, HSRG Director.

This 1-1 interview and audience Q&A was chaired by columnist and broadcaster Ayesha Hazarika – and provided a timely opportunity to discuss Anglo-Scottish high speed rail links with the Government’s Union Connectivity Review currently underway. The discussions covered:

Anglo-Scottish rail as an economic programme:

  • Why and how does improved rail connectivity between England and Scotland make economic sense?
  • How can greatly improved connections through HS2, NPR, etc. improve the productivity and connectivity of areas, leverage investment, drive innovation and support key industries and ‘level up’ economies?
  • How would the cross-border links help to improve economic connectivity between Scotland and northern cities in England?

Modal shift and Net Zero:

  • How will increasing Anglo-Scottish connectivity through the extension of high speed rail links help achieve net zero targets?
  • What is HS2’s role in reducing demand for carbon-heavy short haul flights, paving the way for the Scottish Government’s 2045 target and UK Government’s 2050 target respectively? How can high speed rail help move the increasing cross-border links (passenger and freight) from road to rail?

The three hour journey time:

  • How would reducing London-Scotland journey times to as near to three hours as possible help to bring the country together?
    How do we progress work to date on Anglo-Scottish high speed rail?
  • For example, in our 2020 CSR submission we suggested that a deliverability study would be helpful in providing a pathway and next steps.
  • What timescales should be put on delivering increased connectivity?

See the full discussion here: