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Councils back pro-HS2 group

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Two West Midlands councils have joined forces with private sector companies to support the new high-speed railway line (HS2), between London and Birmingham.

Birmingham City Council and Solihull MBC have collaborated with business organisations including the NEC Group, Birmingham Airport, transport authority Centro and the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce to form GO-HS2.

Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “That the membership of this consortium is drawn from such a diverse group, straddling public and private sectors alike, really demonstrates how the region is speaking with one voice on this issue.”

The consortium claims the new line will create about 22,000 new jobs in the West-Midlands and will have an economic impact of over £1.5bn annually.

The plan has faced opposition from many councils along the proposed route such as Buckinghamshire CC, Aylesbury DC, Coventry City Council, Warwickshire CC and Warwick DC.

These authorities have pledged money to fight the plan, which they say will bring no positive economic impact to their areas and will have huge environmental consequences.

Go-HS2 members claim the new link is vital if the existing routes are to survive. They say research by Network Rail indicates the already congested West Coast Main Line will fail to meet demand by the mid-2020s. It is also argued that HS2 will help relieve overcrowding on the current network, which will benefit commuters in the regions opposing the scheme.  

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