Wigan borough MP speaks out in Parliament against removal of HS2 Golborne link

A Wigan borough MP expressed her disappointment at the removal of the Golborne link from HS2, as plans were debated in Parliament.
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Earlier this month transport minister Andrew Stephenson announced the Government would remove the 13-mile Golborne spur from the scheme and look for alternatives.

It followed the publication of the independent Union Connectivity Review, which said the Golborne link would not resolve all the capacity constraints on the West Coast Mainline between Crewe and Preston.

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During a debate at the second reading of the HS2 bill this week, Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue shared her disappointment about the link being axed.

She said: “There are no alternatives that are cheaper than the Golborne link.

“There are no alternatives that can be delivered with less disruption to passengers and freight on the West Coast Mainline than the Golborne link.

“There are no alternatives that can be delivered quicker than the Golborne link, other than small-scale isolated improvements.

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Wigan Council has identified a number of measures that could easily be incorporated in the Golborne link that would substantially reduce the adverse impacts on local communities. The Government has insisted that any alternative to the Golborne link should deliver the same benefits and outputs within the £96 billion envelope allocated for the Integrated Rail Plan. There is no alternative to match the benefits at similar cost. As concluded in all of the independent analysis that has taken place, the solution to all of this is the Golborne link.”

Makerfield MP Yvonne FovargueMakerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue
Makerfield MP Yvonne Fovargue

But campaigners from Stop HS2 have welcomed the decision to axe the link.

A spokesman said: “The cancellation of the Golborne link of HS2 is vindication of everything we’ve been saying for more than a decade – you can deliver more benefits to more people quickly and for less money without the massive environmental impact, by upgrading existing infrastructure, reopening old lines and providing sustainable local transport.”

They said it prevented damage to ancient woodland and disruption to the community.

They added: “If you want to help Wigan and the rest of the north of England, you spend money in those areas on developing the transport systems that ordinary people will use every day.”