HS2 – trees felled but opportunity knocks for businesses

A vision of the future - and businesses can get a piece of the action. Image submitted

WHITE elephant, environmental nightmare or vital economic boost?

Opinions remain split over the high speed rail link between London and the Midlands but businesses have heard how HS2 could be the boost the regional economy needs on the back of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held its latest #PolicyHour video call with representatives from the project and were given an insight into how the project is moving forward.

Work on the new line has continued in recent weeks with controversy continuing in its wake as ancient woodlands have been cleared in Warwickshire.

Phase one between London and Birmingham is expected to be completed between 2028 and 2031 and the audience was told that 30,000 people would be employed to deliver the project at its peak.

There are more than 400,000 supply chain contracts up for grabs and the project could boost the local economy by £14bn as part of a long-term growth strategy, led by local partners.

Companies can find out about the opportunities available via the www.FinditinCw.co.uk website and they include everything from the construction supply chain through to security and waste removal.

HS2’s head of community engagement Iain Andrews said: “None of us can say for sure what will happen after this crisis but we know that this is the only major shovel-ready project of this size in the country. It’s the biggest infrastructure project under way in Europe.

“It is going to provide a stimulus to the economy and could be the boost this region needs. Already 82 businesses from the Warwickshire area are involved with HS2 and we want even more to put themselves forward for contracts.

“It’s important to us that companies in the region benefit and that there is a positive knock-on effect for the area so we’d encourage companies in the Coventry and Warwickshire to look at the opportunities available.”

Chamber policy officer Sean Rose said: “We were very pleased to be able to hear about the progress on HS2 and it gave members the opportunity to ask questions on everything from procurement through to the impact it will have on other rail services in the future.

“It was a very informative event and we would urge members of the Chamber to find out more about the opportunities so they can bid for and win HS2 contracts.”

A Meet the Buyer event with HS2 is being held jointly between the Chamber and the CWLEP Growth Hub on the www.finditinCW.co.uk platform on 4th June.