London's Chamber of Commerce have given High Speed Rail 2 a cautious thumbs up today as businesses chew over government's plans for the rail network.
A 250mph link from London-to-Birmingham was announced yesterday by Transport Secretary Lord Adonis today - but there is no direct link for Heathrow Airport or connection to High Speed 1.
Colin Stanbridge, Chief Executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry said there are "unanswered questions" that could see the project left in "consultation limbo".
Airport passengers wanting to use the new London-Birmingham link will have to trek nearly ten miles to a new station at Old Oak Common in North Action.
This new station would be part of the Crossrail scheme and rail industry chiefs do not see a business case for a major rail hub at Heathrow. Passengers would join a Heathrow-bound service on the Crossrail route, a £16bn railway line linking the airport to Canary Wharf via central London that would be finished in 2017. High speed Two will not be ready until 2025.
The capital's Commerce Chamber says the new line "must link up with both High Speed One and Heathrow". Adding:
"Without proper connectivity passengers will continue with their traditional means of transport and therefore the new line will not achieve the best possible reductions in CO2 emissions."
London firms are already contributing £4.1bn to Crossrail - from April businesses will have to pay a 2% rate levy for 31 years to help meet the £16bn bill.
But 80% of small and medium businesses will be exempt, commercial premises with a rateable value of more than £55,000 will shoulder the cost of the project.
Critics have called that plan "ill-timed" warning it would harm the recovery of businesses in the capital.
HS2 would use 200mph trains and ministers see it as the first real step in establishing a rapid transit system that could k.o. the use of domestic flying.
Those campaigning against a state-backed third runway in West London see the link up as key to stopping the development and its omission will stoke fears of a stitch up.
Owners, BAA also want a direct link, increasing accessibility to the airport. A BAA spokesman said:
"We expect high-speed rail to strengthen the case for additional capacity at the UK's only hub airport, and would favour a station at the airport."
"We welcome these positive steps towards an extension of high speed rail. We have long campaigned for such an increase which should have happened years ago. It will bring huge economic benefits to the whole country.
There are still many unanswered questions that have to be resolved.
Given the long timescale of the project it is vital that much needed improvements to Euston station and the existing rail network are not left in a consultation limbo."
Photo - Hammersmith & Fullam Council