The High Speed Rail Group has dispatched an open letter calling on the Prime Minister to prioritise connectivity for UK regions. The letter marks the one year anniversary of the Prime Minister committing to proceed with HS2, and comes the day after Royal Assent was formally granted for HS2 Phase 2a.

In the letter leading rail, construction and engineering firms from HSRG and Railway Industry Association, representing 72,000 employees, call on the Prime Minister to prioritise connectivity between Yorkshire, the East Midlands, and West Midlands, and urge the Government to ensure that as many parts of the UK as possible see the benefits of HS2 and the Integrated Rail Plan.

Commenting on the letter, a High Speed Rail Group spokesperson said:
“High speed rail will be central to the environmental, economic, and social future of the UK. The Prime Minister has vowed to ‘level up’ Britain, and this means delivering the full economic benefits of HS2 and the Integrated Rail Plan to as many UK regions as possible,
including Yorkshire, the East Midlands, and the West Midlands.”

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said:
“HS2 is being built right now, supporting thousands of real jobs, and regenerating towns and communities across the UK already; and it is set to catalyse billions of pounds of private investment, as the country seeks to Build Back Better out of this Coronavirus pandemic. Completing the Eastern Leg – which plays a crucial role in the route – means the full connectivity and capacity benefits of the scheme will be realised. And so we today urge the Government to give it the ‘green light’ and let the rail businesses listed in this letter unleash the full economic benefits HS2 provides.”

The letter in full reads:
Dear Prime Minister,
One year ago this week, you showed great leadership and took the very important decision to proceed with the HS2 project. You took that decision because you can see, as we do, that building a national high speed rail network is fundamental to levelling-up and decarbonising Britain.

Since that decision last year the project has made tremendous progress, with full-scale
construction underway and some 13,000 jobs having already been created in delivering
HS2. Having taken that decision last year, the Government is now rightly considering the right path forward to create an “Integrated Rail Plan” for the Midlands and North, taking into account the advice it has received from the National Infrastructure Commission.

We write to you today, as the leaders of some of Britain’s biggest rail, engineering and
construction firms, representing over 72,000 employees, to urge you most strongly to ensure that as many parts of the UK as possible benefit from HS2 and the IRP, and that the much needed connectivity improvements between Yorkshire, the East Midlands and the West Midlands are prioritised. In our view, this is vital if we are to ensure the benefits of the
government’s investment in HS2 are felt far and wide across the country.

At the same time as urging you to give the go ahead to these projects, we would also like to make clear that it is well understood within the industry that this investment needs to be
affordable to the country. We recognise that the industry has an important role to work with the Government, HS2 Ltd, and other relevant parties, to deliver these projects as efficiently and affordably as possible. On behalf of our industry, we fully commit to doing so. High speed rail has a hugely important part to play in the environmental, economic and social future of our country. Over the coming decades, we believe there should be a programme to ensure its benefits reach all of the nations and regions of Britain. We urge you to build on the announcement made one year ago, and give the go ahead for the next, vital parts of that programme.

You can download the letter with signatories here: Open letter from UK rail industry