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HS2 and South Yorkshire

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South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive report on high speed rail, dated 3 Jan 2013

The South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive has produced a briefing paper on high speed rail, dated 3 January 2013, for the Integrated Transport Authority.

[text of briefing paper]

3 JANUARY 2013


Before the ITA’s next meeting in February it is anticipated that the Secretary of State for Transport will make an announcement on the route for the national high speed rail network north of Birmingham as well as the location of high speed rail stations on that route. This paper is to brief ITA members on the anticipated shape and form of that announcement and also to look ahead to activity post announcement.

2.1 That the ITA:

• Reiterates its support for a national high speed rail network and for there to be a station on that network which serves the Sheffield City Region

• Notes the contents of this paper.

3.1 The Coalition Agreement committed the Government to develop a national high speed rail network. Subsequently, the Government set out its intention to construct the ‘Y-shaped’ network first identified by the preceding Labour Government. This network would link London to Birmingham with a connection to the West Coast Main Line as a first phase with a second phase resulting in dedicated high speed lines north of Birmingham on the east and west of the Pennines. The line on the east side of the Pennines would have stations in the East Midlands, South Yorkshire and Leeds, as well as a link to the East Coast Main Line to allow through running to the North East and potentially Scotland.

3.2 It is the Government’s intention that the first phase of the national network will be operational by 2026. This will provide services to Birmingham with through running via WCML to Manchester, Liverpool and potentially Scotland via Preston and Carlisle. The first phase would also offer a link to HS1 for potential access to Europe via the Channel Tunnel.

3.3 The second phase, which would offer high speed services between London, the West and East Midlands, South and West Yorkshire. It is planned that the second phase will be operational in 2032/33. The second phase will also offer a direct link to Heathrow Airport.

3.4 High speed rail will bring substantial economic benefits to South Yorkshire and the wider Sheffield City Region. These will come about because the faster journey times that high speed rail will deliver will make businesses in South Yorkshire more competitive and make the sub-region a more attractive location for existing local businesses to grow, and for new businesses to form and for existing businesses to relocate to.

3.5 Significantly, high speed rail will also provide substantial new rail capacity. As well as allowing the future growth in the use of rail that economic growth will both create and require, transfer of journeys from the ‘classic’ rail network to high speed rail will also release capacity which can then be used for new intra and inter regional passenger services and for freight. This will generate further economic benefits.

3.6 For these reasons, the ITA has expressed strong support for South Yorkshire to be on the national high speed rail network and to be served directly by a station.

3.7 Already the Government has published its preferred route for the first phase of the national network. First an “initial preference” was published – this was done in March 2010 by the previous Government. Then in February 2011 a public consultation was initiated. Six months were allowed for responses and the Government then published its formal response to the consultation in January 2012. Since then work has been undertaken progressing work needed to support the Hybrid Bill which will be used to secure all the necessary powers and consents to construct and operate the first phase of the network.

3.8 In parallel work has been undertaken by HS2 Ltd to identify route and station options for the network north of Birmingham. HS2 Ltd is the Government-owned company established to develop the national high speed rail network.

3.9 In his 5th December Autumn Statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed that the Secretary of State for Transport would make an announcement on the “initial preference” for the network north of Birmingham early in the New Year. It has been indicated that it is intended that this announcement will take place before the end of January and will be most likely in the latter half of the month.

3.10 Following the precedent set by the March 2010 publication of the initial preference for the first phase route, it is anticipated that the forthcoming announcement will comprise:

• A Command Paper which will be presented to Parliament and will set out the Government’s position on the second phase of the network.

• Full details of the advice that HS2 Ltd has presented to Government.

• Other evidence that has been considered by the Government (for example, technical work by councils/PTEs along the potential line of route).

• Details of an Extraordinary Hardship Scheme – this is a mechanism for any property owners who may be immediately blighted by the announcement to secure compensation.

• A timeline for further work leading to a Hybrid Bill for the second phase being placed before Parliament. This will also set out when the Government intends to consult formally on its second phase proposals.

3.11 On this basis, it is anticipated that the announcement will identify the Government’s initial preference for a station location in South Yorkshire. It has been reported in the press that the preferred station location will be at one of two locations: either in city centre Sheffield or in the Lower Don Valley.

3.12 Whichever station location is chosen, a high speed rail station serving South Yorkshire will bring once in a generation transformative economic benefits to the city region. The better connectivity that high speed rail will bring will lead to more jobs and to existing jobs being more productive and so better paid. The better connectivity will also enhance quality of life, which in turn will make South Yorkshire a more attractive place to live and work.

3.13 Realising the full benefits of high speed rail will require a connectivity package that provides road and public transport access from across South Yorkshire. For public transport this will require consideration of how the station is served by Supertram and tram-train, which with the current network and soon to be implemented tram-train extension will serve Sheffield and Rotherham. Rail access to Barnsley and Doncaster will be key consideration and bus/BRT has a potentially important role to play. Already as part of the on-going SCRIF work, how schemes can support access to high speed rail is one of the criteria being considered.

3.14 For benefits to be maximised best use will also have to be made of released capacity on the classic network. Introducing high speed rail creates the opportunity use this released capacity to enhance Doncaster’s rail connections, not just to London but other cities across the country. Importantly for Doncaster in particular, released capacity will help support growth in rail freight. From a City Region perspective, consideration will also need to be given to connectivity from Retford and Chesterfield.

3.15 For South Yorkshire to realise these benefits to the full it will therefore be incumbent on SYPTE and its district partners to work with HS2 Ltd and the Government to secure a scheme which maximises the benefits to South Yorkshire and the Sheffield City Region, as well as work so that residents and businesses across South Yorkshire fully understand the benefits that high speed rail will bring and so are in a position to engage with the planned public consultation in an informed way.

3.16 To deliver these twin goals a work programme is being developed that will comprise:

• Technical work to support engagement with HS2 Ltd and DfT. This work is likely to include (but not necessarily be limited to):

o Analysis of the economic case

o South Yorkshire connectivity of the station location

o How to maximise economic opportunities in the immediate vicinity of the high speed rail station

o How released capacity should be used

• Communications with businesses, the public, elected members, MPs etc. to ensure that the economic benefits of high speed rail to South Yorkshire and the wider Sheffield City Region are appreciated and understood.

3.17 These two work areas are likely to require targeted specialist advice, production of communications material and collateral, as well as staff resource. While details of the future work required are still being developed (and are unlikely to be confirmed until after the Secretary of State’s announcement), what is clear thus far is that while SYPTE and the districts together have some revenue funded budget and staff resources to meet the tasks likely to be needed, this will not be sufficient to do all the work that it would be desirable to undertake.

Reducing the scope of work would increase the risk that either a sub-optimal high speed rail solution is progressed and/or stakeholders are not fully aware of the benefits that high speed rail will bring and so the public consultation does not secure the support that high speed rail warrants.

3.18 Given that the work is to secure a significant capital investment for South Yorkshire, discussions have been initiated on the potential use of county-wide LTP monies to supplement the revenue-funded resources that are currently available. Fuller details of proposals to use county-wide funding will be brought to the ITA’s February meeting.

4.1 Financial
None as an immediate result of this report. Immediate post announcement activity this financial year will be provided for using established budgets. As noted in the paper, further budget will be required for the full range of desirable activities in the next financial year and reports on this will be brought to the ITA in due course.

4.2 Legal and Freedom of Information Act
This report does not contain any information which is exempt under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

4.3 Crime and Disorder
None as a direct result of this report.

4.4 Diversity
None as a direct result of this report.

4.5 Risk
None as a result of this report. Not securing high speed rail because a national high speed rail network is not implemented as planned will be a significant risk to the future rate and scale of economic development in South Yorkshire. One reason that a national network is not implemented would be securing insufficient support through the phase 2 consultation exercise. If a national high speed rail network is constructed, but there is no station within South Yorkshire or that the implemented solution is sub-optimal, then South Yorkshire comparative competitive position will suffer. Mitigating these long term risks is a principal focus of activities planned for the next financial year.

Officer Responsible: Neil Chadwick, Acting Director of Strategy
Telephone: 0114 221 1312

It’s not clear whether South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive has a view on where a South Yorkshire station ‘should’ be located. If Mr Chadwick has produced evidence that high speed rail investment creates better connectivity, or raises regional economic performance, compared to alternative investments, it’s nowhere to be found on the South Yorkshire PTE website.

The briefing paper also mentioned “released capacity”, without explaining what the present capacity utilisation is, or what capacity would be released by HS2 in South Yorkshire.


Written by beleben

January 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm

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