17:08 Thursday 16 May 2013

Council chiefs demand clarity on HS2 after report queries the plan's benefits

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

COUNCIL chiefs in Staffordshire have insisted there must be more clarity on proposals to bring high-speed rail to the region, saying a report had left more questions than answers.

The report from the National Audit Office (NAO) said that it was ‘too early’ to decide what impact HS2 would have on the economy and that there was so far ‘limited evidence on passenger demand’.

The NAO said it had ‘reservations’ about how the planned high-speed rail link would deliver growth and jobs.

HS2 is set to impact on East Staffordshire villages such as Alrewas, Fradley and Kings Bromley as well as parts of North West Leicestershire including Ashby, Measham and Moira.

Those in favour of HS2 have largely answered criticism of the plans with the promise of a jobs and economical boost.

Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins said that people set to be affected needed specific answers on the pros and cons of HS2.

He said: “Today’s report from the national audit office asks a lot of questions and residents affected by the proposals need clear answers.

“The watchdog says it is unclear how HS2 will fulfil promises to transform economies and this is certainly the case in Staffordshire – as there are no economic benefits to the county.

“If the link is to be imposed on Staffordshire then there needs to be absolutely clarity on the scheme, the proposed route, mitigation and intended compensation arrangements for families.”

The county council reaffirmed its opposition to HS2 and said it would continue to fight for ‘meaningful’ compensation for those set to be affected.

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