Agenda item

Notice of Motion Regarding "HS2 Betrayal" - Given By Councillor Terry Fox And To Be Seconded By Councillor Julie Grocutt

That this Council:-


(a)      notes that Sheffield City Council, Sheffield City Region and the wider HS2 East was clear that HS2 proposals were required in full, alongside improvements to Sheffield Station to ensure electrification of the Midland Mainline, to increase capacity with a specific focus on better connections to Leeds (northern loop) and Manchester;


(b)      believes that HS2 is a once in a generation investment and it is outrageous that Government have axed the eastern leg and reneged on promises to improve connectivity and capacity for South Yorkshire rail;


(c)      notes that the eastern leg of HS2 will now stop in the East Midlands and will not continue to South Yorkshire, and yet the Government have tried to ‘spin’ this as a positive development for the region, but that improvements cited were either rehashes of previous announcements or those which previous Conservative governments promised years ago – such as the electrification of the Midland Mainline and upgrades to the Hope Valley route;


(d)      notes that in 2018-19, £276 was spent per person in Yorkshire and the Humber on transport, compared to £903 in London, but that we are witnessing not just a north-south divide, but the emergence of an east-west split, with forecasts showing spending at £412 per head in the North West, around 50% higher than it is on the other side of the Pennines;


(e)      believes Sheffield has been betrayed and that unlocking the potential of the North’s great cities with a properly joined-up rail transport system now feels very remote, and notes the following promises reneged on by this Government:-


(i)       the as promised High Speed link between Sheffield and Leeds has been axed – as has the whole of the Sheffield to Leeds improvements;


(ii)       Sheffield – Leeds connections formed a significant cornerstone of Transport for the North’s Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) proposals that now will not be delivered – damaging the whole of Yorkshire;


(iii)      the Government proposals say nothing on new stations at Rotherham and Dearne Valley Parkway, and as these were dependant on the Sheffield – Leeds connection, they seem highly unlikely to come to fruition;


(iv)      improved links to Manchester and Hull are also not included in plans, and it is likely that no direct rail link to Manchester Airport is now possible; and


(v)      despite warm words from Government, there is no mention of investment in local schemes for Stocksbridge and Waverley Station;


(f)       notes that this Government says Sheffield will see benefits sooner under its Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) than they would have done if HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail had been given the go ahead, but believes this is outlandish ‘spin’ which does not hold up to scrutiny, due to the following:-


(i)       the original rationale for HS2 was to improve not just journey times but also rail capacity; the idea was that HS2 would benefit long distance travellers and regional passengers by segregating them onto separate lines, allowing the fast trains to move more quickly and freely along the high-speed track while freeing up space on the regional lines for slower services;


(ii)       the Government are, we believe, being disingenuous when saying Sheffield is going to get faster trains and increased capacity, as what they mean by that is running longer trains on the long-distance services at the expense of more local capacity, negating the whole point of HS2 in the first place, and actually making local capacity issues worse; and


(iii)      the process of electrifying the Midland Mainline is long overdue and could take up to a decade to be completed in full;


(g)      believes that the Council must continue to work with partners across the North and Midlands, such as South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA), West Yorkshire Combined Authority, and Transport for North, to challenge the Government’s decision and demand greater investment in transport for our city and region;


(h)      believes that the Council must continue to fight for the public transport changes which will make a tangible difference to people's lives – such as bringing the bus system under greater public control and extending the Supertram network to both hospitals and to more parts of the city, such as Beighton and Stocksbridge – and notes that whilst the Government has recently announced extra money for transport in South Yorkshire this will be used to renew existing Supertram and bus infrastructure rather than add to it;


(i)       notes that the Labour Party has committed itself to completing the HS2 project in full, as well as significant improvements to the whole public transport network;


(j)       notes that for a decade the Council has consistently backed bringing HS2 to Sheffield, welcoming all of the obvious benefits this brings for economic prosperity and an improved experience for rail passengers, as well as the huge advantages for cleaner air, but notes that Sheffield Green Councillors have regularly called for HS2 to be scrapped, and failed to back the original proposals;


(k)      notes that the Labour Councillors entered into the Co-operative agreement to put Sheffield first and provide stability to the Council, but that this does not mean we will agree on everything, as demonstrated by our polar opposite positions on HS2; and


(l)       believes that it is incumbent on all Sheffield Councillors to put party politics aside and demand that the Government not only reinstates HS2 coming to Sheffield but they bring about significantly improved investment in the region’s public transport.





In the absence of a mover for the motion, item 7 on the order of business published for this meeting (Notice of Motion Regarding "HS2 Betrayal" - Given By Councillor Terry Fox), together with Amendments Numbered 2 & 3 on the list of amendments circulated at the meeting, were not considered by the Council.