TWO of the region’s most senior business leaders have welcomed the news that the East Midlands will be connected to the UK’s High Speed Rail (HS2) network.
Reflecting on the news, George Cowcher, Chief Executive of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This announcement is extremely welcome news for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and is something which the Chamber has been lobbying on for a number of years.
“Around 55per cent of local firms are firmly behind bringing High Speed Rail to the East Midlands, which has the potential to unlock economic benefits of as much as £3.8bn for the region.
“This is not just about faster train times between Derby, Nottingham and London – it’s also about connecting the East Midlands to a first-class UK and Europe-wide rail network and the opportunities that brings to local firms, as well as making the region an extremely attractive place for inward investment.
“Poor transport infrastructure has held back the UK’s ability to take full advantage of opportunities to grow its businesses. High Speed Rail will bring all the regions of Britain closer together and create the capacity our businesses need to invest with confidence, expand and compete on a global scale.”
Peter Richardson, Chairman of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “One of the most crucial factors in enabling business growth is the quality of the country’s infrastructure, yet for too long, the UK has struggled with dated, over-burdened rail services whilst its competitors in Europe and elsewhere have invested in 21st Century high speed rail.
“In order for local businesses to develop and grow, they need to be connected to a rail network that not only brings London and the regions closer together, but also creates the additional capacity we need to compete.
“High Speed Rail will do just that, which is why I’m delighted that the Department for Transport has finally confirmed its plans to make HS2 a reality and deliver the 21st Century rail network our country so badly needs.”