Osborne gives go-ahead to High Speed 3 for North

16 Mar 16

The Treasury has given the green light to plans set out by the National Infrastructure Commission for a High Speed 3 rail network in the North of England.

In his Budget statement, George Osborne told MPs the government would provide £300m to improve northern transport connectivity in an initial step to take forward the commission’s high speed rail plans.

Yesterday, the commission set out proposals for a high capacity HS3 rail network that would cut the journey time between Manchester and Leeds from 49 to 40 minutes by December 2022 and then to 30 minutes in a second phase.

Osborne said that the commission, which was formed last October, had made a strong start.

“So we are giving the green light to High Speed 3 between Manchester and Leeds; finding new money to create four-lane M62, and will develop the case for a new tunnelled road from Manchester to Sheffield,” he stated.

The government would also back the commission’s recommendations on energy and on London transport in its first two reports, he added, which would include going ahead with plans for Crossrail 2 linking the northeast with the southwest of the capital.

Commission chair Lord Adonis welcomed the commitment to take forward recommendations, which he said included £430m to develop the plans.

“The National Infrastructure Commission was established to transform the way we plan and deliver major infrastructure projects. I am glad that the government has accepted our first three reports,” he stated.

“Putting HS3 at the heart of a new High Speed North can help bring our great Northern cities together and fire growth, and Crossrail 2 is vital to keep more than 10 million Londoners moving in the 2030s. A smart power revolution across our energy sector – principally built around three innovations, Interconnection, Storage, and Demand Flexibility – could save consumers up to £8bn a year by 2030, help the UK meet its 2050 carbon targets, and secure the UK’s energy supply for generations.”

In addition to the £300m to improve transport in the north, £80m will fund development of Crossrail 2, which the government is asking Transport for London to match.

At least £50m will be spent to develop energy storage, demand-side response and other smart technologies over the next five years, according to Budget documents.

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