Report makes net zero carbon case for high speed rail connection to Scotland

Report makes net zero carbon case for high speed rail connection to Scotland

Improved rail connectivity between England and Scotland will help achieve net zero targets by reducing demand for carbon-heavy short haul flights, paving the way for the Scottish Government’s 2045 target and UK Government’s 2050 target respectively, according to the High Speed Rail Group.

The group has submitted a proposal to this year’s Comprehensive Spending Review calling for the government to fund a Deliverability Study to explore the options and proposals to connect Scotland to HS2.

The submission follows its report High-Speed Rail and Scotland, published summer 2020, which set out how through a mixture of new high speed lines and the upgrading of existing lines, joining the route to Scotland would enhance connectivity by cutting travel time between London and Scotland to just over three hours.

Work to date on Anglo-Scottish high speed rail needs to be harnessed to progress and move plans to the next stage, and the submission asks for an assessment to be made of the work that has taken place across Department for Transport, Transport Scotland, National Infrastructure Commission and National Rail, to see now how the identified improvements can be delivered as a matter of high national priority.

According to the group, an industry benchmark for the cost of this type of development work would be in the region of £4.5 million to £6m. Such a programme, it added, would help to underpin the government’s ‘Project Speed’ approach whilst also helping improve delivery structures, one of the key goals of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

A High Speed Rail Group spokesperson said: “The deliverability project proposed by HSRG will provide a pathway ahead for the critical infrastructure needed to improve Scottish and city economies in the north and make good on progress regarding decarbonising transport, particularly the more difficult area of long distance travel and freight.

“In time, a new high speed rail network, fully integrated into an enhanced national rail network, should connect all the regions, major cities, and nations of the UK to help bring the country back together – bringing with it significant economic and environmental benefits.

“As such the government must consider this an essential programme of work as we seek to build back better in the COVID-19 recovery.”

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