SHROPSHIRE needs to do all it can to capitalise on the government’s HS2 rail plans.

Councillor Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council’s portfolio holder for highways and transport, said now was the time for the county to decide on how it can get involved in the scheme.

Cllr Davenport said the county needs to have a discussion in how it can feed into the high speed rail link, given that it will have a stop in nearby Crewe.

When completed, HS2 will link London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester and allow rail passengers to travel much quicker across the country, the government says.

It says it will boost business and open new opportunities for the country.

Cllr Davenport told a meeting of Shropshire Council’s Place Overview Committee, that talks need to happen now.

He said: “I visited the House of Commons a couple of weeks ago and had talks with Chris Grayling the transport secretary.

“We have got to feed in to HS2 because it is happening, he is committed to that and it will be coming to Crewe, so we have got to be across this.

“This is definitely happening I am told and it is something that we have now definitely got to think about how we can get involved and make it work for us.”

Mark Barrow, the council’s director of place, told the meeting the council had been invited to talks on the future of the rail line.

“We have been invited to the next meeting of HS2,” he added.

“I will report back to the committee about what happens.”

The HS2 scheme is due to be carried out in several phases, with the first, from London to the West Midlands, potentially ready by 2026.

Phase 2a, which would be from the West Midlands to Crewe, and would have implications for Shropshire, would follow by 2027 under the plans.

The project has not been without criticism, with some prominent MPs, including Jacob Rees-Mogg and David Davis, calling for it to be scrapped.

But The Department for Transport (DfT) estimates journeys between London and Birmingham – the first phase of the project – will be cut by 30 minutes, while train trips between the capital and Manchester will be an hour shorter.