Green light for HS2
Following three years of Parliamentary scrutiny, construction of Phase one of High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) has been given the go-ahead
Report from – Damien Carr
The 338km high speed rail line between London and Birmingham aims to reduce journey times from 1hr 21min to 49min and increasing capacity with the use of 400m-long trains. Estimated to cost £22bn, this phase of the project will include a major re-development of Euston Station, the construction of a new terminus station in Curzon Street, Birmingham and the construction of Old Oak Common Station, in north-West London, which will connect to Crossrail.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "Getting the go-ahead to start building HS2 is a massive boost to the UK’s future economic prosperity and a further clear signal that Britain is open for business."
The government says HS2 will create around 25,000 jobs during construction, 2,000 apprenticeships, as well as 100,000 jobs in the wider economy. The government has also launched of schemes totalling £70 million for communities along the route between Birmingham and London.
However, the infrastructure project – the largest of its kind in Europe – has faced severe opposition from local communities and NGOs since its inception. Among its critics are Friends of the Earth and the Taxpayers Alliance, which have criticised HS2 on grounds of sustainability and poor value for money.