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11 March 2010

High speed rail link must include Scotland

The Scottish Government will insist on the extension of a High Speed Rail link from Scotland to London, following publication of the UK Government's proposals for a new fast link from London to Birmingham.

On the day Westminster's Transport Minister, Lord Adonis, published his future proposals for High Speed Rail in the UK, Scotland's Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson responded by saying the facts showed that the economic and environmental case is stronger when it includes Scotland.

Mr Stevenson said:

"It is clear from today's report and from successive studies already carried out that developing high speed rail to Scotland is central to the economic case for High Speed Rail in the UK.

"High Speed Rail is the natural choice for cross border travel and could see benefits of up to £20 billion for Scotland's economy. High Speed Rail between Scotland and London would make journey times of under three hours realistic and achievable, and open up rail travel beyond to the rest of Europe.

"A three hour journey time would also give rail a 67% share of the market between Scotland and London, and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"The Scottish Government has developed a compelling case for high speed rail to Scotland, and it is vital that it happens. Scotland's transport future must include High Speed Rail, and we will work with the UK Government to help deliver it.

"We will consider this report in detail, and Scotland's voice will be heard as the UK Government consult on their proposals later this year."
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