High Speed 2: Good for Manchester and 60,000 new jobs for the North

The proposed route include plans for new stations at Piccadilly and Manchester Airport

The proposed route include plans for new stations at Piccadilly and Manchester Airport

I have long supported HS2. The announcement today of £33bn of investment over 20 years reaffirms that HS2 will be good for Manchester and create 60, 000 new jobs.

  • 10,000 jobs during construction
  • 1,400 permanent operational jobs
  • 49,700 jobs in the regeneration and development areas associated with station developments.

There will be two new stations in Manchester, next to Piccadilly and Manchester Airport.

Liberal Democrats were the first party to commit to high-speed rail. It is a key part of our priority of moving towards a low-carbon economy. Once complete, HS2 will transfer approximately 9 million journeys from road to rail and 4.5 million from air to rail.

By shortening train times, HS2 will also make investment and economic interest in regions outside of London and the South-East more attractive. This is vital if we are to help rebalance the UK economy.

Other European countries, such as France, Germany and Spain, have already invested in high-speed rail, and have several rail connections which are much faster than ours. The UK is in danger of falling behind unless we make plans to meet future demand, ease capacity and cut down on train times for millions of passengers.

Once completed, HS2 will allow trains to travel at more than 200mph and reduce journey times between London and key cities in the north and in Scotland. It also means that the whole country will be better connected with the rest of Europe.

The environmental impact will be minimised by following existing rail or road transport corridors, using deep cuttings and tunnels, and avoiding sensitive sites wherever possible.

Here in Manchester, HS2 will go through south Manchester, some 30m underground. Click to see details

I have sought assurances from ministers that there will be the minimum disruption to those living above the new line.

13 responses to “High Speed 2: Good for Manchester and 60,000 new jobs for the North

  1. “moving toward a low carbon economy” In your dreams John. The climate experts acknowledge that a mere 2% increase in global warming is no longer possible and that it is only a 50/50 chance that it will stop at 4%. Have you noticed the weather this year. Extreme changes as have been forecast by the scientists. These massive resources should be invested in renewable energy to provide jobs, slow global warming and revive the economy now, not in 20 years.

  2. Won’t there be noise or vibration for people living near to Paletine Road like me? And the uncertainty about noise is likely to effect house prices I fear.

    • I would imagine everyone along palatine road where the two tunnels will be, will be effected, foundation issues, vibration issue, the environmental impacts of this stretch alone will be detrimental never mind the whole route, it’s good to know your standing up for us again John!!!

      • It’s in a tunnel 30 metres below ground, you should be over the moon it’s not an elevated line. The main issue with HS2 is that it’s not a proper network but a London to X service. There needs to be a Liverpool – Manchester – Leeds – Hull line. We could be faced with the scenario that Manchester to London takes 1 hour 8 minutes (200 miles) whilst Manchester to Leeds takes 1 hour 10 minutes (40 miles) which is totally ridiculous. The Northern Hub helps a bit but why on earth has the Manchester to Leeds section been omitted. Most people will be travelling between Liverpool – Manchester – Leeds and Sheffield not London.

      • I think there is no evidence for this.

        The tunnel is 100 feet below ground, precisely to make sure vibration and foundation issues are not a problem.

  3. Regarding economic benefits to Manchester and carbon emission reductions, NEF have this to say:

    “an earlier independent assessment concluded that even if HS2 captured 100% of all travel between London and Manchester over 60 years, the emissions from construction would still be more than those saved during use.”


    “Studies of high speed rail links in other countries routinely show that the richest areas benefit most. It is likely that economic activity will be displaced from the regions to London as a result of the HS2 link”

    Mr Leech, please would you comment on this.

    Source: http://www.neweconomics.org/press-releases/high-speed-rail-is-a-%C2%A332-billion-blindfolded-gamble-says-think-tank

    • The analysis is flawed. It presumes that if HS2 didn’t happen, there would be no environmental cost for alternative construction projects. Once complete, HS2 will transfer approximately 9 million journeys from road to rail and 4.5 million from air to rail. If it didn’t happen, what would be the environmental cost of dealing with the increase in both road and rail capacity.

      Regarding the validity of estimated benefits, Long distance rail travel has doubled in the last 10 years and is predicted to keep growing. If anything the case for HS2 is based on conservative assumptions. Given the greater uncertainty of longer term forecasts the estimates have been capped total long distance demand at roughly double the 2008 levels.

      A study, carried out by Arup and Volterra, said that investment in a full HSR network would support the creation of 400,000 jobs in eight UK core cities, including Manchester ,and 1 million jobs in total across the cities’ wider urban areas. Once complete, HS2 will transfer approximately 9 million journeys from road to rail and 4.5 million from air to rail.

      • Dear Mr Leech, it is surprising to see you rely on the Volterra report as a justification for HS2 when a respected expert on rail like Christian Wolmar goes so far as to describe it as a ‘disgrace’. He explains in detail why it is wrong to link that report to claimed job creation:
        Dear Mr Leech, the Arup/Volterra report you quote has been widely discredited since its publication so it is surprising that you should rely on it so heavily and might mislead your constituents about its credibility.
        Christian Wolmar is arguably the country’s foremost commentator on the rail industry and he has decribed the claims for jobs creation as a ‘disgrace’, noting:
        “The Yes to HS2 website has a banner across the top which says: ‘Create 1 million jobs, support HS2’. The evidence for this comes from the Core Cities report, produced by Volterra, the consulting arm of Arup, Interim report to core cities group. The report suggests that an additional 400,000 jobs within the Core Cities, and 1 million in total in their wider (Local Enterprise Partnership) areas, could be achieved over a decade. This apparently depends on having the right rail infrastructure but also on a variety of other factors, including the general trends in the economy and a host of other supportive measures from government.. The report says: To support the creation of 400,000 jobs for the Core Cities, and 1 million in total for their wider urban areas, weekly rail volumes into the Core Cities stations (and therefore the infrastructure required) will need to increase by around 70 per cent over the next 20 years, supporting at least 150,000 new arrivals per day. This represents around 80,000 additional trips per day on a High Speed line. ….This increase in capacity is not possible without HSR, which is therefore required to achieve these jobs growth forecasts.’ Whoa, whoa, hold on a minute here. This argument is jumping several steps at once. Very few people will actually commute daily on high speed rail – the first serious stop will be Birmingham and a season ticket would be in the order of £10k by then, rather prohibitive. But even if we accept the argument, it does not say that the high speed line will create these jobs which is what the pro-HS2 website is saying, but merely support them. Moreover, the report is talking about all rail improvements, such as electrification. Bristol, for example, is one of the areas included as having an increase in jobs – 80,000 in fact – but the high speed line will go nowhere near the West Country. In justification, we get this fatuous statement: ‘For Bristol and Cardiff, which will not be part of the HSR network, electrification and capacity improvements to the Great Western Main Line will be vital to maximise their economic potential and contribution. The electrification of the Midland main Line is another example of how the benefits of HSR can be captured more broadly.’ In fact, the money devoted to HSR may well result in the Midland Main Line not being electrified. Bristol, the report says, could benefit by better links to the North via the High Speed line, but that is a tenuous argument as it seems unlikely that people will travel from Bristol to, say, Manchester, via London and the new line. Indeed, a counter argument could be that Bristol would lose out because so many other cities were connected by high speed. Later in the report, clearly the researchers began to worry about how strongly they had put across weak arguments as they then say: ‘Much of the research undertaken on the benefits of HSR appears to demonstrate that the indirect effects can be seen to be redistributed within a region. In this sense when significant new jobs are being created in the area surrounding a high speed station it often appears to be as a result of them (sic) being relocated from another centre in the same region, which does not experience the same level of connectivity. However, there is relatively little information available that specifically quantifies the economic benefits that can be generated through high speed networks.’ (my italics) The million jobs argument, therefore, is completely fatuous. No one has any idea what the real impact of the HS line will be. Indeed, in France Lille remains an unemployment blackspot despite the arrival of the high speed line. There is evidence, too, that some of the new jobs there have migrated from other parts of the region. Of course, Lille might well have been worse off without it, but a high speed line is no guarantee of economic success. The deployment of dodgy arguments on both sides risks dragging the debate down to the level of the school playground. I am, as readers know, very sceptical of the case for HS2 but nevertheless I see it as vital that the debate is framed in the right way and that the arguments are put forward in an honest way. So please, nothing more about Chinese high speed lines, or about a million jobs. Thanks”.

  4. The money to be spent on HS2 should be allocated instead to improving existing rail infrastructure. Why should it be necessary to have to travel from Manchester to Norwich via London because the direct service is hopelessly overcrowded. Even with a reserved seat ticket it is impossible to board the train at Stockport. Investment in cross country lines will free up capacity on the WCML.

  5. any MP taking this stance should be wanting to know why on earth other urban sections of HS2 are not tunnelled e,g, Ealing and why 3 years of misery was inflicted on others before tunnels were agreed e.g. Ruislip.

    There are also serious issues with tunnels and related blight/ compensation – anyone on here who is interested can contact us for more information info@hillingdon-against-hs2.com

    We will give you real info and support not the cut and paste stuff that politicians spout

  6. Pingback: 16,000 job boost for Manchester Airport |·

  7. Pingback: John Leech: 16,000 job boost for Manchester Airport « Steve Beasant·

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