High speed rail link could benefit Gloucestershire - MP
PLANS for a new high speed rail link should be made to benefit commuters in Gloucestershire, according to Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson.
Details of the next phase of the £32 billion HS2 high-speed rail network were recently unveiled by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
The scheme could halve journey times between Birmingham and Manchester to just 41 minutes.
Mr Robertson, pictured, has tabled parliamentary questions on the project, calling for more information on how it could be adapted to benefit the county.
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"The overall project is due to cost an estimated £32 billion, which is a lot of money," he said. "I am asking how much of this money will be spent in each of the forthcoming years.
"I am also asking about how this project might benefit my constituents and people in Gloucestershire generally.
"This is not as silly a question as might be imagined, because I believe that some benefits might come from extending the scheme in some way."
Mr Robertson said following the start of the project to redouble the railway line between Swindon and Kemble, more steps were needed to improve the region's transport links.
He added: "I don't believe that the area is served particularly well by rail, or by roads for that matter.
"These are issues I am constantly taking up with the Government.
"Given the enormous cost of the HS2 project, I do want to ensure that we in this area benefit from such a project and I will keep pressing on this matter."
With speeds of up to 250mph, the Government said HS2 could bring economic benefits to communities along the proposed route, which would run north from Birmingham in a Y, going to Manchester in one direction and Leeds in the other.
However, campaigners opposing the scheme said it would cause massive environmental damage. An official public consultation on the route HS2 would take could be held later this year, with a firm decision in 2014.