Apr 6 2011 By Professor David Begg
Prof David Begg is the Director for the Campaign for High Speed Rail
IN THE last election all three mainstream political parties backed plans for a high speed rail network in the UK. Why did this scheme receive such unanimous cross-party support?
Because politicians of all persuasions realised that the UK needed to radically improve the national transport infrastructure in order to move forward as a competitor in a global and increasingly competitive economic market.
But it is not just politicians that see the sense behind high speed rail. I am the Director of the Campaign for High Speed Rail - independent of government and HS2 - which is a national grassroots campaign that represents employers from across the country. We believe that Britain needs a modern, high speed rail network to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Our case is backed by business people from across the country: Glasgow and Edinburgh, Liverpool and Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Coventry, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Uxbridge - the list goes on. Some of these business people employ large numbers, some employ just a handful.
Every day we are contacted by more and more businesses who want to voice their support. Our supporters are united by a belief that high speed rail will significantly boost Britain's economy in the coming years and the future beyond.
This is not merely because tens of thousands of jobs will be created in the construction process. The most important aspect of high speed rail is that it connects up the country.
It will bring towns and cities around the UK within far easier reach of one another. As a result, investors will be drawn to new areas which will encourage regeneration and new business opportunities.
Projects of this size inevitably require a certain amount of belief. However, we didn't build the motorways without some element of risk alongside the extensive planning. Without such forward-thinking, the UK will struggle to compete with global economies that have had high speed trains up to 180mph for decades and whose mindset is on the accelerator pedal rather than on the brake.
Many entrepreneurs and businesses of Britain have publically given their support to high speed rail. Over the coming weeks, our business supporters based in Uxbridge will be stating their case for high speed rail on this blog. We hope that you will join us in celebrating enterprise and vision, and support high speed rail.
For more information and to join the Campaign for High Speed Rail, visit the campaign website here: www.campaignforhsr.com.
PROFESSOR David Begg is the Director for the Campaign for High Speed Rail. He is also the chief executive of Transport Times and the Director of Portobello Partnership. He sits on the boards of numerous transport-related projects and companies including FirstGroup and BAA, as well as the Greater Manchester Transport Executive and the Business Infrastructure Commission.
He was formerly the Chairman of the Commission for Integrated Transport and sat on the board of the Northern Way Transport Compact. He is also a Visiting Professor in Sustainable Transport at Plymouth University, and has an international reputation as a commentator on transport issues.
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