Friday, October 25, 2013

News: Rotherham in line for massive economic boost from HS2

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The economic impact of the proposed investment in high speed rail (HS2) on Rotherham could be massive, increasing output by as much as £272m each year.

HS2 is the Government's £50 billion high speed rail project that aims to provide extra capacity to handle increasing demand. By 2033, a South Yorkshire station will be on the proposed route from London to Leeds via Birmingham and the East Midlands. With trains travelling at speeds of up to 250 mph, and each with up to 1,100 seats per train, passengers will be able to get from Leeds in 17 minutes, Birmingham in 38 minutes and from London in one hour and nine minutes.

Last month, analysis by KPMG showed that the UK will be £15 billion a year better off with HS2, recovering the cost of the scheme within just a few years. HS2 could add between £0.5 billion and £0.9 billion each year to the economic output of South Yorkshire.

Following a Freedom of Information request, HS2 Ltd has now released the findings for individual areas (PLANET Long Distance (PLD) model areas). The data was used by the BBC to show the areas that will lose out if the line is built as proposed.

With a proposed station at Meadowhall, the analysis shows that Rotherham could increase its annual economic output by between £131.7m and £272.12m due to the investment in HS2 and the re-design of the existing railway infrastructure.

The figures represent an increase of between 2.3% and 4.8% of Rotherham's GDP (the market value of all final goods and services produced) and is the eleventh highest percentage increase of all 235 UK areas in the analysis.

In percentage terms, the HS2 investment could have a bigger impact on Rotherham than Sheffield (between 2.4% and 3.6% increase in GDP), Barnsley (1.6% and 3.1%), Doncaster (0.7% and 0.9%), North East Derbyshire (1.7% and 3.2%) and the South Yorkshire areas combined (1.9% and 3.2%).

The KPMG analysis looks at the potential benefits of HS2 in a different way to those captured in more traditional appraisals. The analysis attempts to put a figure on how increased capacity and reduced journey times for passenger journeys can enable improved levels of economic productivity. It looks at longer journeys and takes into account improved connectivity and commuter journeys plus the impact on businesses through changes to production costs and transport costs to the market.

HS2 is expected to support the creation of around 5,000 jobs in the station development regeneration areas around Meadowhall and the Lower Don Valley.

One key statistic from the report is that the number of people who can reasonably access employment in South Yorkshire would increase by nearly 32% as a result of investment in HS2.

Richard Threlfall, head for infrastructure, building and construction at KPMG, said: "There have been repeated calls for a business case for the HS2 scheme focused on jobs, productivity and growth. KPMG's analysis forms a key part of that business case, setting out the economic impact across the country of the HS2 scheme. It shows beyond reasonable doubt that HS2 brings net benefits to the country of many times the scheme's cost. It shows the UK will be £15 billion a year better off with HS2, recovering the cost of the scheme within just a few years."

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, added that HS2 "will make Liverpool stronger, Manchester stronger, Leeds stronger, Britain stronger. A £15 billion annual boost to the economy, with the north and midlands gaining at least double the benefit of the south."

HS2 website

Images: HS2 Ltd

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