Government publishes HS2 bill

The government has published its bill for stage one of the HS2 rail link between London and the North, reports. 

After much political wrangling and protests, the government has today (Monday) officially published the bill which offers details on the high speed rail link between London Euston and Birmingham.  

The publication acts as a “hybrid bill”, as it is not only a bill but also an application for planning rights. This means that, if it is passed, the bill would then give parliament the power to begin building the line. As such, it would then have an estimated completion date of 2026 and cost in the region of £42.6 billion.

Whilst the government will be hoping its bill is passed with relative ease, the actual results may be somewhat different. After beginning with widespread support, the high speed link has, in recent months, begun haemorrhaging supporters. Most recently, the Institute of Directors said it would be withdrawing support for the project, whilst Labour claimed current plans have seen the Conservatives write the project a “blank cheque”.  

Commenting on the bill and offering it his full support, transport secretary Patrick McLaughlin told”HS2 is the most ambitious and important infrastructure project in the UK since we built the M25 30 years ago, and in 30 more years 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 this 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.”