£2 billion of transport funding is going to be given to Wales as part of the high-speed rail network that is going to be rolled out across the UK. The transport spokesman for Plaid is Jonathan Edwards who has made the calculation that Wales should be receiving just under £2 billion to the investment in HS2.
The government recently approved the project and many people have complained about it saying that the new rail line is going to run through particularly beautiful parts of the country. Cheryl Gillan, the Welsh Secretary, has recently been heavily criticised for selling a home worth over £300,000, that is going to be just 500 yards from where the track is going to run.
Sources close to the secretary have stated that her decision was not based on the construction of the railway track and stated that her home had been on the market since mid-2010. The house sold for around a fifth less than the asking price but a source has stated that it had nothing to do with the rail link.
Many people support the construction of the rail network which will allow people to travel between Birmingham and London in three quarters of an hour. Mr Edwards stated, “It is very important that Wales gets the right amount of investment for this railway and in the past the country has had a tendency to lose out on transport funding. Currently it is looking like HS2 is just an investment in England and is not going to really bring many benefits to Wales.
“The Westminster government is in charge of this rail development and £2 billion should be given to Wales over the next 15 years to encourage this element of the railway, this includes a long overdue electrification of the rail network. The rail line connecting London with Glasgow was electrified in the 1970s but in Wales there are still no electrified railways. This leaves the country very low down the ratings for rail transport throughout Europe.
“Over 80 percent of the work that is going to be done to this rail network will be in England and while they are going to be getting a high-speed system, in many parts of Wales there are still not electrified railways. I sincerely hope that the government will remember Wales as they push ahead with their plans.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Transport has stated, “Just because we’re putting a lot of investment into HS2 does not mean that we are going to stop developing the rest of the rail network in the UK. We have just recently said that we are going to be bringing electrified rail to the services running between Didcot, Bristol and Cardiff. We are also going to be considering the electrification of rail to many places north of Cardiff.”
A spokesperson from the Welsh government has said, “We want to see an overall modernisation of the rail network in the UK and a key part of this is electrification of the Welsh part of the rail network.”