Following the Prime Minister’s address at Conservative Party Conference today, Ben Bradley MP is reassuring residents that improving transport in the East Midlands and North is a key Government priority. The Prime Minister stated that he “had the courage to change direction” by cancelling plans for new HS2 lines north of Birmingham, but announced new that the money will be reinvested in the region “with quicker results” for regions outside of London, and on priorities that people have in their communities rather than the priorities on Westminster.
Government has recommitted to ensuring trains will still reach the key stations that have previously been expected in the Integrated Rail Plan from 2021, to East Midlands Parkway, Nottingham, Derby and Chesterfield. In addition to an upgraded Midland Mainline, a new connection will allow trains to travel from Nottingham, via Newark, to the East Coast Mainline and Leeds. This fulfils Mr Bradley’s priority that Government delivers the on the growth plans delivered around these stations, where significant work has already been done to bring in future investment, and ensures trains are reaching those places on upgraded lines. A new study will consider the connectivity between Birmingham and East Midlands Parkway, including the newly announced Midlands Rail Hub.
As a result of no longer continuing with the Birmingham to East Midlands Parkway leg of the HS2 line, Government is saving roughly £8 billion which will be reinvested entirely in East Midlands transport priorities. This includes £220 million for buses and £2.2 billion to repair potholes across the Midlands.
On top of this, Government has awarded the single biggest transport settlement for any combined authority in record, totalling £1.5 billion, for the new East Midlands Mayor to spend on transport priorities. This is significantly more than the recent £1bn announced for the West Midlands, and gives huge flexibility and opportunity to advance local projects. This is welcome news to Mr Bradley, who has hopes of taking on the new role as Mayor.
Commenting on this Ben Bradley MP said:
“I’m more than happy that the Prime Minister has listened to our needs here. The priority I’ve been raising around HS2 is not about new track, but about ensuring that trains reach the same places; Parkway, Nottingham, Derby and Chesterfield, where we’ve done a huge amount of work on planning for investment and growth. This plan can still deliver that, and commits to some work to make that happen. So I’m happy with that. They’ve listened.
The East Midlands will now have the money saved from scrapping HS2, which is over £8 billion, reinvested in our transport priorities. We’ll be saving money and results will be delivered faster. My constituents will be delighted about major new money for roads, and we have some good programmes for buses that will be boosted.
Additionally, our new Combined Authority is being awarded the single biggest transport settlement ever - £1.5 billion in total – way more than any other area has ever had. This gives the future East Midlands Mayor a huge scope to make massive changes, and deliver all sorts of projects based on local needs, like the Maid Marian Line, Staveley Bypass, or tram extensions for example. We can do that based on local needs and priorities. It puts the power in our hands.
Our transport plans have changed but Government is still delivering for the East Midlands and our goal remains the same. It isn’t news that we won’t be getting the Eastern leg of HS2, we’ve known that since the Government released the Integrated Rail Plan. We still have the trains though, and now we have a huge amount of cash to provide transport solutions to issues from potholes to major infrastructure. Great stuff!”