Written evidence from the Liverpool and
North West Chambers of Commerce (HSR 16)|
Liverpool Chamber welcomes the HS2 initiative as
a key element of the Government's stated commitment to achieving
a spatial and sectoral rebalancing of the UK economy.
We believe that HS2 will maximise value-for-money
(vfm) and business confidence to invest outside London and the
South-East. The Chamber would like to see a commitment to the
construction of phase I to Birmingham, Phase II to the North-West
and Phase III to Scotland.
It is equally important to note that without the
associated infrastructure improvements (ie enhanced connectivity
with the rest of the network and the indirectly served cities/towns
along the West Coast Mainline) the full value of investment will
not be realised for UK PLC. The Northern Hub and East/West electrification
projects are prerequisites of successful HS2 in the North West.
An early and binding commitment to deliver these investments is
essential so that complementary connections are in place from
day one of HS2 operations.
The Chamber would prefer one rather than two hybrid
bills since a single bill will take two years to pass through
the system while two separate bills would take three years each.
This would both complicate and significantly delay the mechanisms
for delivering the programme.
HS2 Draft Proposals
The current proposals indicate the strategic "Y"one
leg serving Manchester and the North West and the other serving
the East Midlands and Leeds.
As indicated on schematic at p.22 of DfT Consultation
Liverpool Chamber Draft Proposals
(i) To maximise the flexibility and connectivity
of the proposed North West element of the network, the Chamber
would advocate the provision of a high quality interchange station
at or near Warringtonperhaps linking the WCML, HS2 and
the Cheshire Line to Liverpool. This would ensure the maximum
level of interchange and journey choice for users.
(ii) The creation of a pair of vees linking Liverpool
and Manchester with a northbound HS2 is also an option.
Possible Vees arrangement.
(iii) A realisation of the original Northern
Way vision of east-west connectivity might see the crossing of
the "Y" with a HS2 or Javelin-type service linking Liverpool
with Leeds via Manchester.
Refinement with high quality direct service linking
Appropriate (W10 gauge) clearance to link the Royal
Seaforth Docks in Bootle and other WCML distribution hubs is essential
in order to maximise the value of the freight paths released by
The WCML RUS recommendations are noted and endorsed
but we are also aware that the resurrection of the Freight Facilities
Grant might play a key part in assisting industry to make best
use of the opportunities presented by HS2. Railhead length vis-à-vis
intended length of freight trains is also an issuethe privately-owned
railheads are generally too short to allow the easy assembly of
775 metre trains necessary to optimise path capacity.
What impacts do you think HS2 will have on your
area or region?
It will provide an alternative for passenger travel
while the conventional network is upgraded; reduce travel times
between London and the North; and free up capacity on both the
WCML and wider network for additional freight paths and localized
Do you expect HS2 to encourage more new businesses
to start-up in your area?
Yesparticularly as the cost of living in London
rises in the wake of rising property prices and congestion. A
number of Government departments and high profile organisations
such as the BBC are already relocating to the North in view of
favourable property rents, reduced overheads and the quality of
life offered to employers by regional cities.
Do you expect HS2 to create more jobs in your
Yesearly estimates from the DfT suggest that
over 40,000 jobs will be created during Phase I alone: around
9,000 would be created on the route's construction and a further
1,500 jobs in its operation. Regeneration around the stations
would create 30,000 jobs. As construction progresses north there
will be significant supply chain opportunities for LCR-based companies
such as RS Clare (greases for rail tracks) and Trend Rail (components).
Do you expect HS2 to increase business productivity
in your area? Eg through reduced transport costs
YesHSR would allow businesses to access wider
markets and a larger labour pool through more trains going to
Do you expect HS2 to draw jobs away from your
Noon the contrary we expect that HS2 will
be essential to supporting the predicted growth of Liverpool City
region based on developments currently in the pipelineeg
Liverpool and Wirral Waters, Superport, Mersey Tidal Barrage Scheme,
Irish Sea Offshore Wind Programme, Port of Liverpool Deep Water
Container Terminal and the recently allocated Enterprise Zone.
By reducing the overall time for travel between key cities of
the UK and Europe, HS2 will also increase the spatial potential
for agglomeration benefits across growth sectors identified below.
In what sectors will the biggest influence be
Built environment, knowledge economy, advanced manufacturing,
financial services, low carbon energy development, culture and
What type of jobs will be affected? Skilled/Unskilled?
Bothbut relative proportions are indeterminate
at this stage. We expect skilled workers to consider prospects
offered by Liverpool City-region's four universities and considerable
knowledge assets viz. Daresbury, Liverpool Science and
Innovation Parks etc to be increasingly accessible and attractive
in the longer termespecially when viewed in light of wider
quality of life and cost of living issues.
In your opinion, will there be any other redistributional
effects caused by HS2?
We believe that improved connectivity, mobility and
accessibility delivered by HSR will result in net inward investment
and enhance graduate retention across the City-Region.
In your opinion, is HS2 likely to widen or narrow
the economic gap between London and your Region?
We think that HS2 is essential for driving a spatial
and sectoral rebalancing of the UK economy. It will also connect
the cities north of London to the rest of Europeparticularly
the Golden Triangle cities of Paris, Strasbourg and Brusselswithout
having to switch from HS trains to the slower conventional network.
This will provide a significant incentive for travelers wishing
to access cities north of London en route to Scotland via
the North West. It will also reduce congestion and pressure on
property and services in the Greater London area as commuters
will be able to live further north while maintaining jobs in Londonand
Are there any transport schemes which you would
prefer to see funded instead of HS2? If yes, which schemes and
No. HS2 is an absolute priority since the West Coast
Main Line is currently the busiest section of the conventional
network for freight and predicted to be at full capacity within
the next 10 years. Any improvements along the WCML aimed at longer
term passenger and freight capacity will only be effective if
HS2 is delivered. A national high speed network would transform
rail capacity enabling 14 or more additional train services per
hour and be designed to accommodate larger and longer trains able
to carry up to 1,100 passengers. The enhanced capacity and connectivity
made available by HS2 could see as many as six million air trips
and nine million road trips a year shift onto rail, freeing up
capacity on motorways and enhancing access to, and development
of, regional airports.
Is there anything further you would like to mention
on the issue of HS2 and its potential impacts?
We are currently supporting the "Yes to HS2"
campaign led by David Begg and will be providing a Liverpool and
NW regional response to the HS2 consultation currently in the
field. We also aim to secure 500 business signatures in a petition
to demonstrate support for the programme.