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Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Guest Blog - HS2: We mustn’t let our future generation down

By Mike Gibson, Connectivity Associates Ltd.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking on the subject of HS2 to the 'North West Young Planners', an enthusiastic group of young town planning professionals from across the region with strong views on balancing the need for new development with the protection of the environment.   

To ensure a lively discussion and to find out what these young professionals thought about HS2, I chaired a debate with the motion 'HS2 is a Crucial Lifeline for the North West'.  This brought out some interesting and exciting views on the importance of having a new high speed rail service between Europe and the North West, including a faster and more sustainable way of travel, the extra capacity it will deliver for the West Coast mainline, the benefits it will bring to firms exporting goods abroad and the many jobs that will be created. 

Of course, some concerns were expressed, such as the effect HS2 will have on those who live close by, the harm to the landscape and wildlife, and the potential to take all business growth to the already overblown South East.  

However, the vast majority of these young professionals agreed with the motion.  They considered the economic and environmental benefits outweighed their concerns and that without investment in this transport infrastructure, the North West economy would be significantly disadvantaged.   Trips to the south of France direct from Piccadilly also had great appeal.

This highlighted to me that the real beneficiaries of investment in HS2 will be our younger generation who are looking forward to this being built and to using it for business and leisure purposes twenty or so years from now.  The message we have to give to the objectors is to think strategically and plan ahead for future generations, who will not thank us if we fail in this task. 

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