EX-NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR’S REPORT TO PARLIAMENT SAID HS2 REGIONAL ECONOMIC BENEFITS ARE “AMBIGUOUS AT BEST”.

HS2 ACTION ALLIANCE

NORTH EAST NEWS

 

February 20, 2014.

 

EX-NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR’S REPORT TO PARLIAMENT SAID HS2 REGIONAL ECONOMIC BENEFITS ARE “AMBIGUOUS AT BEST”.

 

A French city which is exactly the same distance from Paris as Newcastle is from London – 290 miles – has lost business headquarters to the capital and seen economic impact precisely the opposite to that pledged by HS2.

 

Lyon has seen businesses move HQs to Paris, and more demand for rail tickets to Paris than from Paris, since the city was connected by the TGV high speed rail service.

 

The facts are contained in a report produced by Professor John Tomaney of UCL London – previously he was at Newcastle University – in which he also says that regional economic benefits of high speed rail are “ambiguous at best, and negative at worst”.

 

Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, says a major programme of investment in Newcastle and the North East is needed to ensure the region receives economic benefits from HS2 – but indicators from two areas of France say any reliance on HS2 could be costly.

 

“Pro-HS2 lobbyists keep citing Lille as being a great beneficiary of high speed rail, but the fact is that Lille only gained because it received hundreds of millions of Euros in EU regeneration funds which happened to coincide with the arrival of high speed rail in the region. It’s also geographically well-placed at a European transport crossroads. No UK city can be described as that,” said Iain Macauley of HS2 opposition campaign HS2 Action Alliance.

 

“But more alarmingly for Newcastle, a government report – one of many which say the economic benefits of HS2 are massively exaggerated – also concludes that if we look to the likes of the Lyon/Paris relationship, then Paris gains far more than Lyon.

 

“London-Newcastle is 290 miles. Paris-Lyon is 290 miles.

 

“Other HS2 and government-generated reports say that higher speed over set distances draw economic benefits. If the Paris-Lyon example is anything to go by, then business and jobs will flow faster to London from the north east than the other way round. This could be compounded by the fact that, according to a recent Centre for Cities report, London is creating jobs at ten times the rate of anywhere else. HS2 would fuel this – and talent exits from regional cities.

 

“HS2 will not be good for regional cities.

 

“The report’s section 4.13 says the French capital has gained the most from the creation of a network that has Paris as its central node. For instance, on the Paris-Rhône-Alpes route (Lyon), flight and train journeys to Paris increased 144%; those in the opposite direction have increased 54%.

 

“Intra-organisational trips that have Paris as their destination increased 156%, while trips originating in Paris increased by 21%.”

 

It adds that survey-based analysis also indicates that the impact of high speed rail (HSR) on business location was negligible, according to the same authors (Albalate and Bell 2010). Therefore, despite some business creation, there is no evidence that HSR led to overall economic decentralisation from Paris.

 

Furthermore, as in other countries, there is evidence that HSR reduces the number of overnight stays from business travellers. This has a negative impact on one of the industries that is usually most likely to benefit from HSR: tourism.

 

Notes to Editors:

In the most recent national YouGov Poll, well over 50 per cent of the UK public were opposed to HS2.

 

For further information please contact:

 

North:

Iain Macauley

im@pressrelations.co.uk

07788 978800

 

Midlands and South East:

John Read

john.read@readdillon.com

07774 476391

 

South and South West:

Peter Chegwyn

chegwyn@talk21.com

07931 177940

 

http://www.hs2actionalliance.org/