Congestion is proving costly for Birmingham businesses - we need HS2
20 Sep 2012
Birmingham businesses are suffering unacceptable delays and rising costs caused by congestion, according to a Chamber of Commerce survey.
Delays were increasing costs for 61 per cent of respondents to the survey with 42 per cent stating their reputation was being harmed.
Almost half of the respondents in the construction and manufacturing sector stated they were suffering unacceptable delays in delivery with 60 per cent of these businesses reporting an increase in costs.
The impact of delays was alarming for catering businesses with all reporting unacceptable delays and three-quarters reporting rising costs.
Birmingham Chamber chief executive Jerry Blackett said that, although half of the businesses responding agreed regional transport infrastructure was ‘fairly good,’ something had to be done to reduce road congestion.
“It is clear from our survey that congestion is costing our businesses money and harming their reputations.
“These are difficult times and we must do all we can to remove these obstacles and ensure business in Birmingham is as competitive as it can be.
Mr Blackett is a keen supporter of HS2 and said a new high speed rail network would release capacity on existing lines for more passenger and freight services.
“We want to see more freight being carried on our railways to relieve the pressure on our road network. We are at the crossroads of the country and, while this presents advantages with our central location, it means we are seeing increasing levels of congestion,” he added.
Centro chief executive Geoff Inskip said congestion on roads in the West Midlands was costing £2.3bn per year despite the number of rail passengers in the West Midlands doubling in a decade.
“We have a growing population and people are increasingly choosing to travel to do business and enjoy leisure time,” he said.
Mr Inskip said it was vital that the right infrastructure was put in place to make the most of the opportunity HS2 brings.
“We want to open up new rail routes and add services for passengers and freight on our existing lines.
“This is good news for businesses and communities right across our region,” he added.
Centro wants to reopen the Stourbridge-Walsall line to freight services and reopen the Camp Hill line for passenger services from south Birmingham into Moor Street station.