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Ministers bury plan for HS2 cycle route


09 November 2018

The Government has dropped plans for a cycle route in the corridor of HS2 between London, the West Midlands and the north of England.

The cycle route – which some dubbed ‘Slow Speed 2’ – was first floated by the Government in 2013. The DfT commissioned a team of consultants Royal Haskoning DHV, John Grimshaw & Associates, and Phil Jones Associates to identify a possible route. 

The DfT has just released the consultant’s report into the idea. In a cover note, the Department says:  “Neither the DfT nor HS2 Ltd have any current plans to fund the national cycleway outlined in the study. 

“If local authorities are interested in progressing the local routes within the study, they are encouraged to incorporate them into their LWCIPs [local walking and cycling infrastructure plans] and explore funding opportunities with their local enterprise partnership, and other potential funders.”

The HS2 cycle route idea was led internally in the DfT by Shane Snow, who is now the head of land assembly for HS2. Snow has described the project as the DfT’s “first ever cycling infrastructure project”.

John Grimshaw was a keen champion of the concept. Interviewed by LTT earlier this year (LTT 13 Apr), the former Sustrans chief executive spoke of his frustration that ministers had not bought into the idea. 

“The political support doesn’t exist at the moment,” he said. “Many towns and villages will simply be bypassed by HS2, as it hardly stops anywhere, so the idea is that we could give all these places a piece of high quality infrastructure.”

Grimshaw said that, because the cycle routes would interface with HS2, they would therefore require joint working with HS2 Ltd. “The sad thing is that if it [the cycle route] doesn’t happen during the construction phase [of HS2] then it will never happen, and villages will be severed from neighbouring towns for ever.” 

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