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04 Oct 2023

HS2 decision is ‘worst of both worlds’

The Mineral Products Association (MPA), which represents UK producers of aggregates, concrete and asphalt, has expressed its deep disappointment at the Prime Minister’s announcement on HS2 today.

MPA members, who are both key suppliers to and users of the rail network, have invested tens of millions of pounds to meet the material needs of HS2 on the basis of the Government’s long term commitment to infrastructure and public investment.

Jon Prichard, MPA Chief Executive, said: “Using infrastructure spend to balance the books, without looking at the wider economic, social and environmental impacts is short-sighted.  Pretending that this is a strategic decision simply does not tally with the facts.  Scrapping the next leg of HS2 is the latest and largest example of the Government’s commitment being unreliable, with projects continuously falling victim to political games. Future prospects for our industry and the wider UK economy should not hinge on the latest political opinion, but on evidence-based policymaking and long-term strategic thinking. This is clearly absent from the current debate.”

Aurelie Delannoy, MPA Director of Economic Affairs, said: “Delivery of public infrastructure has been poor for years, with delays, descoping and cancellations being the Government’s modus operandi. Our members’ investments, based on expected demand, rest on business confidence, which is eroded by decisions such as this. HS2 north of Birmingham is the biggest such disappointment to date, but it’s part of a concerning trend, given similar decision taken on roads projects earlier this year.”

Robert McIlveen, MPA Director of Public Affairs, said: “While not a surprise, the decision to run high-speed trains on normal speed means that our members’ aspirations to grow their use of rail freight are stymied as they will have much less capacity to use on the West Coast Main Line, meaning more HGVs, carbon emissions and congestion. From a transport perspective it’s the worst of both worlds.”

In an environment where MPA members are seeking private investment to achieve the transition to net zero carbon emissions – including shifting freight of essential materials to rail where possible – this decision is deeply unhelpful for business, transport and the climate.


About the Mineral Products Association:

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and industrial sand industries. With the merger of British Precast, and affiliation of the British Association of Reinforcement (BAR), the British Calcium Carbonate Federation, the Cement Admixtures Association (CAA), CONSTRUCT, Eurobitume, MPA Northern Ireland, MPA Scotland and the UK Quality Ash Association (UKQAA), it has a growing membership of 520 companies and is the sectoral voice for mineral products. MPA membership is made up of the vast majority of independent SME quarrying companies throughout the UK, as well as the 9 major international and global companies. It covers 100% of UK cement and lime production, 90% of GB aggregates production, 95% of asphalt and over 70% of ready-mixed concrete and precast concrete production. In 2021, the industry supplied £22 billion worth of materials and services to the Economy. It is also the largest supplier to the construction industry, which had annual output valued at £178 billion. Industry production represents the largest flow of materials in the UK economy and is also one of the largest manufacturing sectors.

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