Leaders tell HS2 review that M18 route must be abandoned

Rotherham Council Leader, Cllr Chris Read, and the elected Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, have formally written to the review of HS2 being undertaken by Doug Oakervee to restate their opposition to the so-called M18 route.

Both Rotherham and Doncaster will be adversely affected by the government’s currently preferred route, and have made it clear that the costs to the boroughs vastly outweigh any benefits. In their covering letter, the leaders say;

“We are very strongly opposed to the current plans for Phase 2B from the West Midlands to Leeds. When compared to the original proposal for South Yorkshire, the new M18/Eastern route results in:

  • Fewer trains and fewer seats
  • Inferior connectivity and longer journey times
  • Fewer jobs created and lower GVA benefits
  • Major residential demolitions and blight to existing housing developments
  • Significant impacts on new regeneration sites in one of the most deprived areas of the UK
  • Severe impacts on the local environment and landscape”

They also challenge the argument put forward by HS2 Ltd that moving away from the original HS2 route via Meadowhall would save as much as £1 billion from the spiralling costs of the project;

“Sir David Higgins claimed the new M18 route would save £1bn. This is not the case, as the savings estimate did not include the following essential infrastructure works:

  • Electrification of the Midland Main Line to provide HS2 services from London
  • Remodelling of Sheffield Midland Station
  • Signalling upgrades
  • The northern loop to provide HS2 services from Sheffield to Leeds
  • New capacity and rolling stock to provide Birmingham to Leeds services and maintain essential local stopping services (via a Tram Train extension)
  • The total cost of these additional infrastructure works is expected to approach or exceed £1bn.”

You can read the submission on the RMBC website by clicking here.

In a statement accompanying the submission, Cllr Chris Read said; “The current HS2 proposal offers little or no economic benefit to the Rotherham borough and its businesses. We need either a Meadowhall stop or we call on the Government to scrap the development all together rather than build it in a way that will cause years of disruption at massive cost, and instead reallocate the savings to fund essential improvements to regional rail connectivity through the Northern Powerhouse Rail.”

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