Business leaders in Greater Birmingham haev challenged criticism of the high speed rail link between London and Birmingham by transport experts, largely made up of academics. They claimed that only one of the advantages from HS2 would be increased capacity but they challenged assertions that it would regenerate the North and climate change impacts.
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC) said it was surprised at the criticism and pointed out that the Midlands was already seeing benefits even before the track had been laid.
Stephanie Wall (pictured), senior policy and patron advisor at the GBCC, said: “The majority of businesses tell us they believe HS2 will have a positive impact on the Greater Birmingham region, and indeed we are already experiencing these impacts.
“We are already for example seeing jobs creation in the region. 300 employees are now based at HS2 in Snowhill, Jacobs Engineering has created over 100 roles moving to the city, and both companies are set to increase these numbers significantly.
“The ground for the new National Rail College in Birmingham was broken just a couple of weeks ago and from September 2017, the college will train in its first year up to 500 apprentices.
“HS2 will not only create jobs but also bring much redevelopment to the city and the wider region, including the Curzon Street station development, as well as Birmingham Interchange in UK Central.
“An aim of HS2 was to regenerate the “North”, but HS2 will clearly support the regeneration of the Midlands. HS2 is hence an important project for Great Birmingham, generating game-changing opportunities for the region.
“While HS2 is open to constructive criticism to ensure the best possible delivery of the project, it is important that such contributions are supported by fair and balanced evidence. We do not wish for any undue comments to cause delays in this vital project.”