A new inquiry has been launched into controversial rail plans which saw part of the HS2 project downgraded last year.
The inquiry has been announced by the cross-party Transport Select Committee following the news in November that the eastern leg of the high-speed rail project was being massively curtailed, reports BirminghamLive.
The original plan was for trains to run between Birmingham city centre, a brand new station in Toton near Nottingham and Leeds – known as phase 2b.
But the Government confirmed months of rumours when it said the high-speed trains would instead stop at the existing East Midlands Parkway station before switching onto conventional tracks and continuing journeys to Yorkshire and the North East.
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There was widespread anger, particularly among business, political and civic leaders in the Midlands and North, when the HS2 downgrade was announced even though other aspects of HS2 – namely the planned leg between Birmingham, Crewe and Manchester – would proceed as planned.
Phase one between Birmingham and London is already under construction.
Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward called the revised HS2 plans “a blow for the people and communities of Birmingham and the West Midlands” while leaders in the North were similarly angry about separate downgrades to Northern Powerhouse Rail.
In the inquiry, MPs will consider criticism of the rail plan but are also likely to consider the arguments from those opposing high-speed rail entirely and who claim that even the lines still going ahead are a waste of money.
The House of Commons Transport Committee is now inviting businesses, local councils and commuters to submit evidence for its investigation into the so-called ‘Integrated Rail Plan’.
Matters to be examined include the contribution the Integrated Rail Plan will make to rail capacity and connectivity for passengers and freight in the Midlands and the North and whether it will help to “level up” these communities.
It will also look at the potential effect of the Integrated Rail Plan on sustainability and transport decarbonisation and whether it is a sound investment for taxpayers and passengers.
A statement from the committee said: “The Transport Select Committee now plans to scrutinise the potential effect of the Integrated Rail Plan on rail capacity and connectivity and on the Government’s levelling up agenda.”