Jonathan Spruce, ICE Trustee for Policy and External Affairs, said: "As we emerge from the pandemic, politicians are starting to think long-term about the shape of the UK transport network.

Demand for rail services is still predicted to rise 40% by 2040, and more rail capacity is needed to meet this demand, as well as deliver the major transport improvements required to meet national objectives such as reducing carbon emissions.

“Whether or not we need High Speed 2 to achieve those objectives will be a question posed by some, particularly as the legislation for Phase 2b goes through Parliament. ICE's refreshed HS2 insight paper is a must-read for all sides of the debate and clearly sets out the facts on this vital project assessing the costs and benefits, as well as the concerns and proposed alternatives.

“ICE continues to support the business case for HS2, but the government must do more to integrate it within the wider infrastructure system. The Integrated Rail Plan provides a strategic underpinning for how HS2 can help unlock further benefits in the North and the Midlands, but an IRP delivery plan is needed before the end of the year to avoid further costly delays.”

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