Engineering consultant claims transport link could save economy £60bn

Engineering consultant Atkins has called for the construction of a high-speed rail link, which it says could save the economy over £60bn.

Railway line

The proposed project, outlined in a report, would ease congestion on existing lines by linking the southeast of England to the Midlands and Scotland.

The consultant claims the project will encourage local investment in transport to counter road congestion.

According to the report, speed routes on the east and west coasts could cost £31bn to build, but would deliver more than twice that figure in economic benefit in the first 60 years.

Andy Southern, managing director of Atkins’ transport planning division, said: “It is clear that a high-speed rail network should not only be viewed in terms of its benefit to relieving congestion on the rail network. The economic gain could also be extremely significant.

“Our modelling shows the impact would be felt by local communities as well as the business traveller choosing to go by rail rather than air. There is also potential to reduce overall carbon emissions from transport in the UK.”

Atkins estimates for a high-speed rail link service to be operational by 2026, on the grounds that preparatory work begins soon.