Page 8

THE BIG ISSUES

SPRING 13

>> HS2 could be a soaraway success for aviation Phase two of the Government’s £30bn HS2 fast train project could bring 30% of Britain’s population within an hour’s travel of Birmingham Airport. And that, according to airport bosses, should create a strong option for Britain’s future aviation strategy. Steve Dyson reports A fascinating map was issued air-rail transport system where by Birmingham Airport as a HS2 links together a network of response to the government’s HS2 national airports. HS2 brings 30% of the UK’s population within announcements at the end of January. “This will ensure that cities outside an hour’s travel of Birmingham Airport Called ‘Shrinking Britain’, the map of the South East have thriving Travel time by rail to Birmingham Airport shows how HS2 could cut rail travel airports to support local businesses Before HS2 After HS2 1hr 51mins West London 31 mins times to Birmingham by so much that to grow and prosper. We will Glasgow Central London 1hr 10mins 38 mins pop. 1,199,629 it would be mad not to make the continue to work with the Airports 1hr 48mins Nottingham 38 mins 1hr 30mins Manchester 49 mins city’s airport a central part of the UK’s Commission to best establish how Sheffield 1hr 36mins 58 mins 2hrs Leeds 1hr 5mins future aviation expansion strategy. HS2 can complement the UK’s Newcastle 1hr 34mins Liverpool 1hr 8mins pop. 284,000 3hrs Newcastle 2hrs 7mins For example, it currently takes one aviation strategy.” 3hrs 57mins Glasgow 3hrs 29mins hour and 30 minutes to travel from The Government’s Airports Manchester to Birmingham Airport, Commission is a six-strong expert but this is set to become just 40 committee chaired by Sir Howard Leeds minutes when HS2 is complete Davies, examining options for pop. 751,500 in 2032. airport expansion. Alternatives Manchester pop. 2,682,500 Sheffield Similarly, journey times from include: a second runway at pop. 551,800 Nottingham Sheffield could be cut from one Gatwick; expansion of Stansted; Liverpool pop. 675,600 pop. 466,400 hour, 36 minutes to just 58 minutes; building a new airport to the west Nottingham from one hour, 48 of Heathrow; a high speed monorail minutes to just 38 minutes; and between Gatwick and Heathrow; Current travel time by rail Central London from one hour, or using Birmingham as a ‘London’ ten minutes to just 38 minutes. airport, linked by HS2. Travel time with HS2 Birmingham While welcoming the Government’s But some Midland critics think the Airport pop. 3,683,000 announcement of the preferred route debate is currently too focused on London 30 for the second phase of HS2, Paul the South East. m in s pop. 8,174,100 Kehoe, chief executive of Birmingham They feel the Government should Airport, used the occasion to call for instead fully utilise existing capacities 1 ho ur an aviation policy “that complements at other major UK airports, like the investment in HS2”. Birmingham, developing a series of Mr Kehoe said: “This sets out how strategic national airports spread • All journey times are estimates based on figures taken from the full HS2 network connects eight across the UK. www.hs2.org.uk out of ten of our key cities and will This thinking is behind Mr Kehoe’s • All population figures are based on data for metropolitan areas transform the economic geography of praise of the Government’s decision as indicated by city councils or the ONS 2011 census. the UK, help rebalance the economy to put on hold plans for a HS2 spur and boost national growth. to Heathrow Airport until after the “Airports are a critical part of this story and and just over half an hour from London. By Davies Airports Commission has delivered we need to build a vision for UK aviation that providing passengers with more choice of its conclusions. Mr Kehoe added: “Building complements the investment in HS2. HS2 will where to fly from, it will help us make best a new rail link to an airport that is already bring Birmingham Airport within one hour’s use of spare capacity at airports across the UK. overflowing is clearly illogical, and so the journey time of 30% of the UK population “We need to build a truly integrated decision to put on hold plans for a Heathrow

Shrinking Britain:

BUSINESS QUARTER | SPRING 13

08

BQ WEST MIDLANDS issue 1  
BQ WEST MIDLANDS issue 1