4NW positive on high-speed rail plans

Policy advisory body, 4NW, formerly the North West Regional Assembly, is optimistic proposals for a new high-speed rail link between London and Scotland linking major regional cities will remain on track under the new coalition government.

Simon Crawshaw, director of corporate development and external affairs at 4NW, said: "As far as we're concerned, we are just watching the situation carefully but the support of high-speed rail was mentioned in part of the coalition statement and indeed, while all the parties were in opposition, all of them supported the introduction of high-speed rail links.

"We'll be looking to see if any new legislation is announced within the Queen's speech [on 25 May] but the coalition statement did give strong support. In terms of the North West, HS2 is taking forward the proposed plans. The situation is a watching brief at the moment."

HS2 was created by the Government in January last year to look at the feasibility of, and business case for, a £20bn North-South line linking London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Wigan-based 4NW represents the region's local authorities and advises the North West Development Agency and central government on policy and budgets. Private sector companies, universities and housing groups are represented on its board alongside council leaders.

In March, the last Government announced proposals for delivering an initial core high-speed rail network which will link London to Manchester with trains running at up to 250 miles an hour.

The Conservatives have so far indicated they would prefer to invest in the high-speed rail link and scrap expansion plans at London's airports.

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I can’t wait to see the back of unelected quangos such as 4NW that have done little to close the productivty gap between NW England & SE England despite the millions of tax payers’ money they have squandered whilst favouring some cities (above all Manchester) at the expense of others. As we say ooop nooooorrrth – good riddance to bad muck!

By no-more-quangos

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