Major step forward for HS2 as hybrid Bill published
HS2 took a major step forward this week with publication of the Bill for phase one of the country’s new railway between London and Birmingham.
Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Chairman, James Newman, said:
“This LEP believes that HS2 is a once in generation opportunity for the Sheffield City Region, the north, and the future of the UK economy.
“HS2 will be the biggest construction project in Europe and Sheffield City Region LEP wants to start unlocking the huge potential for jobs, development and growth as soon as possible.
“This legislation covers the London to Birmingham leg, and we are pushing Government to quickly progress with legislation to link Sheffield City Region to Birmingham at the same time.
“The UK Government must ‘think big’ to accelerate delivery of this vital project – 15 years is too long to wait to rebalance our economy.
“The Sheffield City Region LEP is ready to play its part in this transformative scheme. Now is the time to be bold and make HS2 happen.”
The hybrid Bill, effectively the planning application for the scheme, will give the government the powers to construct and operate the railway. It will also give those affected by the proposed line the opportunity to petition Parliament, both for and against the proposals, and have their case heard by a committee of MPs.
The government believes that the new line – the first to be built north of London for 120 years – is vital to meet the urgent rail capacity needs on the main rail routes into London. Parts of the West Coast Main Line are full in terms of the number of trains they can carry, many of which are full to overflowing. There are similar issues facing the East Coast and Midland Mainline.
HS2 will spread prosperity throughout the country, connecting 8 out of 10 of the country’s major cities and particularly benefitting the midlands and the north. A recent study by KPMG estimated that when fully operational HS2 will generate around £15 billion of economic benefits annually.
The publication of legislation for Phase One marks a significant milestone in the project. Once Royal Assent has been achieved, it is expected that construction of the line from London to Birmingham will begin in 2016 to 2017 allowing the line to open in 2026.
Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said:
“HS2 is the most ambitious and important infrastructure project in the UK since we built the M25 30 years ago, and in 30 more it will be just as integral a part of the nation’s prosperity.
“The Bill will give us the powers we need to get the railway built and start delivering the extra room on our railways that this country so desperately needs. It will also start the process of rebalancing the economy and bringing our great cities closer together.
“That is why the Bill is so important – it marks the move from aspiration to delivery. Now is the time to be bold and ensure HS2 becomes a reality.”
The government has also published the environmental statement for Phase One of the scheme. The document sets out in detail the likely significant environmental effects of the scheme.
It allows those on or near the line of route to see exactly how they will be affected and provides details of the ways in which the railway has been designed to reduce as far as practicable impacts on the landscape.