Nationally the Liberal Democrats recognise the importance of HS2 in delivering much needed extra capacity on a rail network that is increasingly crowded. However in contrast to the Conservatives we would continue the electrification of the Midland Mainline as electrifying transport is key to meeting our climate change commitment of net zero by 2045.
Whilst the local party acknowledge the national importance of HS2 it will have significant impacts on Erewash. The construction phase currently involves the moving of a section of the M1 which will undoubted cause traffic chaos in the surrounding area. There will also be increased traffic to the proposed new East Midlands hub at Toton.
Erewash Liberal Democrats are committed to campaigning for improvements to the project as currently planned to mitigate the negative impacts on Erewash. We will campaign for connecting services to link Ilkeston and other local stations to the East Midlands hub to relieve the pressures of traffic having to travel to the new hub. And we will continue to campaign to realise all the benefits that an improved transport hub centred on Toton / Long Eaton could bring.
Where are we now?
The HS2 Phase 2b Eastern leg, the design stage is now well progressed, and includes a controversial 20+ metre high viaduct through Long Eaton. A consultation on 7 design refinements including one proposed change around Trowel, which Erewash Liberal Democrats have responded to, reported on 7th October 2020. With the Towns Fund bid now including the project to close the low level line through Long Eaton to make room for HS2, a project supported by local Liberal Democrat campaigners, there may be cause for further design refinements. Since then a National Infrastructure Committee Report recommmended curtailling the Phase 2b route.
Has Phase 2b Been Approved?
Currently the Eastern leg of phase 2b has not received parliamentary approval and may not receive approval before the end of this parliament. The National Infrastructure Committee Report considered the scenario where Phase 2b terminates at East Midlands Parkway which means the line would not pass through Erewash and came to a favourable conclusion on this option, agreeing with Liberal Democrat campaigner James Archer who has long said that local transport improvements would benefit the area more than HS2 will, however the decision now rests with the Secretary of State as to whihc option or options to take further and ultimately take to parliament for approval.