Stoke & Staffordshire

Staffordshire to oppose high speed rail link

Staffordshire County Council has voted to oppose plans for a new high speed rail service.

The route for the London-Birmingham HS2 goes as far as Lichfield. The plan is to then extend the line to Manchester, which would cut through the county.

The council said it would formally oppose the plan on the grounds the business case for it is flawed.

It said there would be no economic benefit and it would "actually damage" the economy.

Councillor Philip Atkins, leader of the Conservative-run council, said there were serious concerns about the environmental impact and harm to the economy.

"Many people don't realise that existing mainline train services from our county would suffer," he said.

He said it was an important issue for all Staffordshire residents.

"While the HS2 line ends in the south of the county, the HS3 line would cut through the rest to the north through the Trent Valley," he said.

"We believe an urgent national debate needs to take place on better ways of improving our transport infrastructure for the good of the entire economy."

In February the government launched its consultation on the plans, which would cut journey times between London and Birmingham to about 50 minutes.

Opponents argue the £17bn scheme will be a waste of money and updating the existing West Coast mainline would be a better investment.

But Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has said the high-speed line (HS2) would mean a £44bn boost for the UK economy.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites