Any responsible judgement must urge Government to act now. Parliament has overwhelmingly agreed to allow spending in preparation for the whole line, sending the clearest signal about our determination to build in this country infrastructure that will match in quality (not exceed) what the rest of the world is, or will be, doing.
All over the world governments are making decisions about a future which they cannot predict but in which they believe. I tell you another thing I didn't foresee in London Docklands in 1990. I couldn't know that HS1 would attract £10 billion of private development around the new station sites at Ebbsfleet (in north Kent), Stratford (in east London) and Kings Cross.
- Lord Heseltine
The annual RTPI Nathaniel Lichfield Lecture, given by the Rt Hon the Lord Heseltine CH, took place in London last night (12 November) and attracted both a packed audience and national media publicity. The main theme of the lecture, kindly sponsored by Dalia Litchfield, was the growth agenda with respect to cities, and how pioneering city leaders can develop visions for growth. But it was Lord Heseltine’s comments on HS2 which attracted the newspaper and television headlines. The former Deputy Prime Minister come out strongly in favour of the £50 billion high-speed rail project. In his lecture, Lord Heseltine compared opponents of HS2 to critics of his regeneration of London Docklands in the 1980s.He also endorsed the call by Sir David Higgins, the incoming chairman of HS2, to reduce the overall budget by building the line more quickly.
The Today programme, Channel 4 News, the Independent, Times, Guardian, Financial Times, Daily Express, BBC and ITV news, Evening Standard and the Spectator all covered the event and most mentioned the RTPI.
The lecture was held at University College London and was chaired by Sir Peter Hall.
Listen to the lecture here.