Headlines: March 11th, 2010

Local authorities in the South West of England and South Wales have joined forces to campaign for a High Speed Rail line from London to the two regions. The Great Western Partnership is promoting the economic and environmental benefits of a high speed line west of the capital.

The group said the link would cut the journey time from London to Cardiff to about 70 minutes and mean a trip from London to Bristol would take an hour. The partnership is focussing particularly on the benefits a high-speed line would have on the knowledge-based employment sector and on general employment growth.

Bristol City Council leader Barbara Janke said high-speed rail was essential to grow Bristol’s and Cardiff’s regional economies. “We have clear examples from Europe and elsewhere of the benefits this can bring. Indeed, if we fail to secure this investment I believe our economies will suffer in relation to other UK regions,” she added. She welcomed the opportunity to work closely with South Wales and Cardiff and said: “We are forging closer links through a range of initiatives and I hope and believe that this is the beginning of much closer collaboration on many shared issues in the future.”

Cardiff Council leader, Rodney Berman, said the UK’s core cities needed to stand together to campaign for a transportation system fit for the 21st century. Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainability, Transport and Strategic Planning, Peter Greenhalgh, urged the Government to consider the line so that people living outside London to the West could enjoy the benefits of people in the South East.