Business chief calls on government to "stop playing games" with Derbyshire's future amid rumours of scrapped HS2 eastern leg

The East Midlands Chamber has urged the Government to “stop playing games” with Derbyshire’s future following rumours that the eastern leg of HS2 has been abandoned.

By Lizzie Day
Monday, 23rd August 2021, 2:27 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd August 2021, 2:28 pm

The powerful comments made by the chief executive comes after a leak claimed the eastern leg of the high-speed rail line will be scrapped.

If follows comments from Whitehall insiders in recent months, who maintain that the government is to terminate the proposals for a HS2 line in Nottinghamshire which would connect the region, along with Chesterfield, Staveley and Sheffield to Leeds.

The Department of Transport said the decision has not been made and an integrated rail plan which has been in the works since last year is set to be released soon.

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One of the designs for a HS2 train by Alstom.

Scott Knowles, head of the East Midlands Chamber has slammed the government amid the uncertainty surrounding the eastern leg of the major-rail plan, urging ministers to be clear about whether the project will go ahead.

He said: “Fundamentally, nothing has officially changed regarding the future of the HS2 Eastern Leg since last year when the Government said it would set out its proposals in the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP).

“Yet it seems like every other weekend, we are reading reports in national media outlets in which anonymous Whitehall civil servants are sending out signals to diminish its chances of happening.

“With the IRP being kicked down the road continuously and not expected until the autumn, it has left a void for constant speculation that is causing huge uncertainty at a time when we need to know the direction ahead for future regional economic planning.”

The chief executive continued: “It’s time for the Government to stop playing games with the future of our region, and those other areas that would stand to benefit significantly from HS2 East.

“While many of our perceptions have been adjusted during the pandemic, the huge economic benefits that HS2 can bring as part of the much-hyped levelling up agenda haven’t changed.

“Indeed, we are already seeing these plans start to come to fruition across Birmingham, where the certainty of the first phase of HS2 has already spurred private sector investment and development.

“Without the development of HS2 as promised, these plans will be critically undermined, and any delivery that does happen will certainly not be of the magnitude aspired to.”

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