HS2 East Midlands: Call to move phase 2 route

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Councillor Nicholas Rushton believes the route should run up the A38 into Derby station

The leader of Leicestershire County Council is calling on the government to scrap plans for a proposed high-speed railway line through the county.

The second phase of the HS2 route would see the line run alongside the M1 and under East Midlands Airport to a new station between Derby and Nottingham.

Councillor Nicholas Rushton said the route would use land earmarked for a new freight hub - close to the airport.

He said "it will be a real disaster for the county if HS2 wrecks it".

'None of the gain'

Mr Rushton said: "As far as I can make out, where it disappears under the airport and where it comes up is slap bang in the middle of the Roxhill development, and the two can't really work together.

"The planned freight terminal would see 14 heavy freight trains each day and create up to 6,000 jobs. It's right next to East Midlands Airport, the biggest freight airport in the country."

Media caption,
Andrew Bridgen MP: "I have no confidence in their consultation process"

He said Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin should admit he has got it wrong and move HS2 down the side of the A38 and into Derby station.

"It's already there and can accommodate these trains and it will bring economic benefit to Derby, not building a new station out in the middle of nowhere at Toton Sidings.

He added that the route would also cause the loss of "beautiful countryside".

"I shall do everything in my power to get him to change his mind," he said.

'Upset some people'

Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, said he had "no confidence" in the consultation process.

"We are going to have all the pain and none of the gain," he said.

He added: "This project could well scupper a £450m private-sector investment in a regional transport hub just north of the airport. It is planned to create nearly 7,000 jobs in my constituency."

Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin said: "I'm afraid we will upset some people. But I appreciate that and we've got to try and do as much as we can to alleviate the damage wherever we can."

An official announcement about the route was made on Monday.

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