Full speed ahead - Queen approves Government’s HS2 plans

HS2 stock image PNL-161002-115346001
HS2 stock image PNL-161002-115346001
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HS2 - which will cut through parts of Aylesbury Vale and the Chilterns - took a major step forward today as The Queen gave the controversial plan her Royal Assent.

Construction will now begin on schedule in the Spring.

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.

“HS2 will be the world’s most advanced passenger railway and the backbone of our rail network.

“Royal Assent is a major step towards significantly increasing capacity on our congested railways for both passengers and freight; improving connections between the biggest cities and regions; generating jobs, skills and economic growth and helping build an economy that works for all.

“By investing in infrastructure the Government is seizing the opportunity provided by leaving the EU to build a more global Britain. We will now press ahead with constructing the railway while continuing to ensure affected communities get appropriate support and are treated with fairness, compassion and respect.”

The government says that HS2 will create around 25,000 jobs during construction as well as 2,000 apprenticeships. It will also support growth in the wider economy, worth an additional 100,000 jobs.

It says that from 2026 tens of thousands of passengers will be using high speed trains every day between

London and Birmingham; services will travel onwards to places like Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Preston and Wigan.

David Higgins, chairman of HS2 said: “Achieving Royal Assent for Phase One of HS2 between Birmingham and London with such significant parliamentary support, is a monumental step in transforming rail travel in Britain.

“We have a long journey ahead of us to build the railway and secure permission for Phase two to make sure that the full benefits of HS2 are realised.

“This journey will see businesses right along the route benefit from greater access to the skills, markets and professional services they need to succeed in today’s global market.

“It will directly create some 25,000 jobs as well as forcing the pace of innovation in the construction industry.

“Throughout this process HS2 remains committed to mitigating the environmental impacts whilst continuing to engage with each individual community which is making sacrifices to enable a 21st century railway network to be built in Britain.”