By Katariina Rawlins
The 5th of November
The Coalition Government at Westminster are currently considering how to best take forward plans for a UK High Speed Rail Network.
Council leaders from Glasgow and Edinburgh explained this Thursday to MSPs why it would be beneficial to include Scotland in the high speed rail plans.
Council members Jenny Dawe and Gordon Matherson spoke at an event in Holyrood that was hosted by MSP Charlie Gordon. Many people turned up for said event.
Edinburgh council leader Cllr Jenny Dawe, said: “The presence of the Leaders of Scotland’s two main cities at today’s event is a clear demonstration of our willingness to work together in the national interest and of the importance that we attach to bringing high speed rail to Scotland.”
The Council members pointed out how adding Scotland would deliver maximum economic and environmental benefits whilst ensuring that Scotland is not economically disadvantaged in relation to UK and international competitors.
Cllr Dawe added: “Failure to do so from the outset will damage not just our ability to compete internationally but also our ability to compete with those other regions of the UK that will be included in the network.”
A rail expert has warned ministers that Scotland must spend £10 million on its own blueprint for a high-speed rail route north of the Border because the UK is only serious about building lines from London as far as northern England.
Cllr Gordon Matheson added: “In fact, it’s estimated that bringing the line to Scotland could take at least 20 years – so long-term thinking and planning is absolutely crucial and we believe we have a strong case for building this rail network from both ends.”
The event was organized to make sure that the Scottish Government would work with Westminster to ensure that Scotland is included in the network from the outset.
Cllr Matheson said: “Edinburgh and Glasgow both agree that rejecting any commitment to high-speed rail for Scotland would be short-term thinking of the worst kind.”
It took place on the same day as Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond addressed the Transport Times Conference in London outlining the government’s commitment to HSR.