According to recent YouGov polling, support for the High Speed 2 railway almost halves if the Manchester leg of the route is not constructed.
This poll comes amid suggestions that the government may scrap the northern link, meaning the line would only connect London to Birmingham.
According to the data, support for the project is already quite low – when the Manchester route is included, only 26% of Britons support the plans, with 36% opposing it.
Just over a quarter of those polled neither support nor oppose the construction of HS2.
These figures change significantly when the Manchester leg is removed. If HS2 were to link just Birmingham and London, 14% of Brits would support the project, a decrease of 12 percentage points.
In this scenario, 41% of those polled would be against HS2, with 28% neither supporting nor opposing it. 13% say they ‘don’t know’.
It appears that the public are less divided on the issue when the Manchester link is excluded from the proposal, as is being suggested.
These figures are even more accentuated when the YouGov poll focuses specifically on northerners’ opinions.
Only a quarter (26%) of northerners support the operation as it currently stands, but this figure falls to just 9% if the route goes between Birmingham and London.
While 37% are in opposition to the current proposals for HS2, which rises to 56% against it if the link to Manchester is axed.
Currently, only the passage between London and Birmingham is under construction and it is due to be completed between 2029 and 2033.
The route between the Midlands and Manchester is still in the planning phase and the specific line from Crewe to Manchester does not yet have parliamentary approval.
Among this reconsideration from the government, the future of the HS2 link from the Midlands to Manchester looks uncertain.
At conception, HS2 was proposed with a two-pronged design, going from London to Birmingham before splitting into two sections for Manchester and Leeds.
The eastern leg of the project, connecting the Midlands to Leeds, was scrapped in November 2021 to decrease the construction time of the operation and to save some of the cost.
This change meant the eastern line would only go as far as the East Midlands.
More information about the YouGov poll can be found here.