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10-point plan to address HS2

08 November 2023

CILT IN the UK has published a 10-point plan in response to the cancellation of HS2 one month ago.

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport has assessed the implications of the HS2 decision, and remains deeply disappointed at the cancellation of HS2 north of Birmingham.

Julian Worth FCILT, spokesperson for CILT Strategic Rail Policy Group says: “We believe this will do considerable harm to the economies of the North and Scotland. Instead of investing in the UK’s major infrastructure scheme, a third of the money is to be spent on populist short-term tactical measures which will do nothing to address the nation’s strategic infrastructure needs,” 
CILT recommends the below 10-point plan:
1.    A well-informed independent inquiry should be set up to establish what went so badly wrong with HS2. This should be led by the individuals who delivered HS1 on time and under budget, supported by seasoned rail professionals.
2.    We recommend in the strongest possible terms that the alignment of HS2 Phase 2 be protected against future needs and not abandoned as Government proposes. 
3.    Without HS2 Phase 2, the West Coast Main Line (WCML) north of Lichfield will be dysfunctional and cannot provide the much-needed connectivity improvements for the North, Wales and Scotland.
4.    Major bottlenecks will have a highly damaging impact on High Speed services to Manchester, Liverpool, Scotland and North Wales,  and on freight - WCML is the UK’s main freight artery and is critical to supply chains of many businesses in the North and Scotland.
5.    We recommend an urgent review of options to resolve WCML constraints, in particular the Colwich-Stafford thrombosis in this major economic artery for UK plc.
6.    The remainder of the £36bn released from HS2 should be spent on infrastructure investment for the long-term benefit of the UK economy and environment, not on short-term revenue items which do nothing to address the nation’s strategic infrastructure needs.
7.    Candidate investment schemes should be prioritised objectively and ranked by their Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR), which should be calculated using an internationally approved cost of carbon to ensure maximum decarbonisation is delivered.
8.    A focus on freight and logistics was noticeably absent from the HS2 announcement and we recommend that much greater emphasis is placed on this economically vital sector.
9.    Specifically, we recommend that the remaining single-track sections on the Felixstowe to Midlands and North (F2MN) route, serving Britain’s biggest container port, should be doubled and the route electrified throughout.
10.    We further recommend that another 600 route miles across the UK should be electrified - estimated to cost around £2bn, barely 5% of the £36bn released from HS2 - to allow c.95% of rail freight to be electrically hauled, with zero carbon emissions.
CILT hopes that an incoming administration will reinstate the long-term strategy underpinned by HS2 and move forward with the 10-point plan.
To read the 10-point plan in full, click here.