With the announcement of the routes which will carry 225mph trains and link London with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds by 2033, HS2, debate over its impact on rural people and places is in the spotlight as revealed by this article. Some MPs have criticised the plans as ‘rushed’ and are debating how HS2 will “turn the rest of the country into a suburb of the capital”. While proponents of the project say it will be a catalyst for economic growth, job creation, rebalance the nation’s economic geography and provide necessary rail capacity; opponents query the wisdom of a single investment of this magnitude, particularly in the current economic/financial climate and in cutting through vast swathes of countryside.

If you are interested in transport issues more broadly, the RSN is holding a transport seminar in Stevenage on 20 March. Presenters include John Birtwistle from First Group (‘addressing the challenges faced by rural bus operators’) and Colin Walker from East Riding of Yorkshire Council (‘how far can rural transport reach?’). To book your free place at this event please email Wendy.Cooper@sparse.gov.uk

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