Today, the Welsh Select Committee published their report into road and rail links between Wales and England. This included consideration of the effects of HS2 on Wales.
As the committee say on their website:
The Committee welcomes the new investment in cross-border rail links into Wales but says current plans for the HS2 high speed rail link could cause damage to the Welsh economy. The exclusion of South Wales from the HS2 proposals means businesses and people may relocate eastwards across the border.
The report itself is more stark, saying
“The vast majority of witnesses told us that failure to include a high speed rail line between England and Wales as part of the HS2 scheme would put South Wales at a disadvantage compared to other areas of the UK.”
It also refers to the views of the Welsh Government, and to their discussions with the Department for Transport:
35. The Welsh Government has concluded that the exclusion of Wales from HS2 will put Wales at an economic disadvantage. It produced two reports which stated that areas not served by HS2 would be at danger of losing jobs and people, as businesses relocated along the HS2 line. The Welsh Government Minister told us that Wales’s exclusion from HS2 would mean more would have to be made of the existing rail network in Wales: for example, the new Wales and Borders franchise would need to be connected to areas served by HS2. When questioned on the impact of HS2 on Wales, DfT Minister, Simon Burns, said that the DfT had not conducted any assessment of the impact of HS2 on Wales…
37. The overwhelming view of the evidence we took is that South Wales will lose out from its exclusion from the High Speed Two (HS2) proposals. Indeed, there is a risk that HS2 could have a serious negative impact on the South Wales economy due to its relative proximity and the potential for businesses and people to relocate eastwards across the border. We are therefore concerned that the DfT has not attempted to assess the economic impact of HS2 on Wales.
38. We recommend that the UK and Welsh Governments work together to assess the economic impact of HS2 on Wales as a matter of urgency. Should any adverse impacts be identified we expect the UK Government to consider possible mitigation measures.
How can the Department for Transport – and the rest of the Coalition Government – say that HS2 is good for Britain, if they haven’t even assessed the impact on one of the nations that make up the United Kingdom?