Associate Director of Political and Social Research

The government is set to approve the HS2 project, connecting London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. With MPs sitting on both sides of the fence, how does this vast infrastructure project sit with the public? 

Two in five Scots oppose the building of HS2

YouGov asked those in Scotland – who won’t necessarily benefit from the scheme - about the current adequacy of rail links and the level of support for the new rail link.

Opposition north of the border towards HS2 outweighs support, with nearly two in five (39%) objecting to the project, compared to 27% who back it. 

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Whilst a quarter of 16 to 24 year olds are generally favourable, opposition grows amongst older groups with 58% of over 65s against the project. 

Scots who voted Labour are split down the line in their views (34% support; 32% oppose, 33% don’t know). In contrast, almost half (46%) of SNP voters oppose this.

Earlier research shows a similar proportion of Britons also oppose HS2

A plurality (40%) of those nationwide are against the building of the new rail line. Around half (46%) of those from the Midlands and Wales are the most likely to oppose the new infrastructure.

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Overall a third (32%) of Britons support HS2, with Londoners most willing to back it (43%). 

Three in five Scots don’t think HS2 will have any impact on Scotland

When asked what type of impact the high-speed rail line will have on Scotland, the majority (57%) don’t think it will make any difference. Older people are more likely to have this opinion (63% of over 65s) as well as a majority of 2019 voters from the main political parties.

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Just 15% say it will have a positive impact on the country; younger people are more optimistic. Triple the proportion of this age group see some benefits compared to their older counterparts (29% 16 to 24s; 11% of over 65s).

One in ten (12%) think it will have a negative impact on Scotland.

Despite this opposition, many Scots think there aren’t enough rail links between Scotland and the South of England 

Half of those in Scotland think there are sufficient rail links to the North of England (47%) and London specifically (55%).

When it comes to the South of England, opinion is more divided with a third having diverging views: 31% think there are enough rail links, 35% don’t think there are. An additional 33% are unsure.

The need for connecting Scotland and Wales is even more apparent with almost half of Scots (45%) saying that there are insufficient rail links connecting the two regions. 

Image: Getty 

See full results here 
 

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