To consider the report of the Director of City Development setting out the key issues in the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands (IRP) and the specific implications this has for Leeds. In February 2020, the Government published the outcome of the independent Oakervee report advising whether and how to progress HS2 and recommending the need for an IRP for the North and Midlands to be developed. The IRP has been developed by Department for Transport (DfT) and was published on 18th November 2021.
The Director of City Development submitted a report setting out the key issues in the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands (IRP) and the specific implications for Leeds. In February 2020, the Government published the outcome of the independent Oakervee report advising whether and how to progress HS2 and recommending the need for an IRP for the North and Midlands to be developed. The IRP was developed by Department for Transport (DfT) and was published on 18th November 2021.
In considering the report, it was noted that this had been the first opportunity to submit a report on such matters to the Board since the publication of the IRP, and the purpose of it was to provide Members with the latest position and invite the Board’s support to seek clarification from Government in a number of areas.
The Board discussed a number of issues, including:
· The key importance of addressing the capacity issues at Leeds station moving forward;
· The need for clarity around alternative proposals for highspeed connectivity for Leeds, as an alternative to the HS2 eastern leg;
· The key importance of effective East-West connectivity;
· The disappointment of the current position, given the significant planning that had been made on the basis of the HS2 route into Leeds.
The Chief Executive highlighted that in moving forward, the aim was now to establish a partnership approach with Government and regional partners in order to deliver real transport improvements, given the integral role that transport connectivity played in the city’s development. Positives, such as the funding which had been allocated towards the development of a new West Yorkshire Mass Transit System were also highlighted.
Finally, confirmation was provided that the DfT held the £100m which had been allocated in the IRP towards a review of how to bring high-speed trains to Leeds and to consider Leeds Station capacity issues, with it being noted that the Council was keen to progress such matters with partners as quickly as possible.
(a) That the proposed approach to seeking the following from Government, as set out below, be endorsed:-
a) To note the key issues in the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands including the emerging specific implications for Leeds;
b) To support the request to DFT and Treasury for Leeds City Council to joint client all proposed further studies impacting Leeds Railway Station in defining the scope and remitting of the study into highspeed rail to Leeds, including the critical link between Leeds and Sheffield and Leeds Station capacity utilising the £100m made available through the IRP;
c) For officers to liaise with WYCA and DfT to obtain clarity over the total development funding contribution to Mass Transit, understand how and when it will be paid and the specific scope of the funding contribution proposed;
d) For officers to seek clarity from DFT over the implications of the TRU/NPR works to Leeds Station and to understand what land will be required to implement the Government’s proposals. Officers will also seek clarity over the level of disruption anticipated to existing Trans-Pennine services while the works are undertaken not just to the rail network but also the highway network specifically including consenting regime, timescales and any required land acquisition;
e) For officers to seek clarity from DFT on the timescales associated with the safeguarding of land, and that impact on businesses and residents have been updated by DfT on what the IRP and safeguarding now means for them and for DFT to undertake further public engagement on the ongoing implications;
f) For officers to seek greater clarity from DFT on the timescale for the delivery of all the proposed enhanced journey times as stated in the IRP and consenting powers/routes;
g) For officers to formally request a copy of the Mott MacDonald technical report on alternative routes for the eastern leg of HS2;
(b) That subject to receiving clarification on resolutions (a) to (g) above, officers bring back a further report to Executive Board to outline the detailed implications of the IRP and any further recommendations for the Council to take.