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Bill for next stage of HS2 in Queen’s Speech

curzon hs2

A Bill for the second phase of High Speed 2 (HS2) will be introduced in the new Parliament, the Queen has announced.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said it expects the Bill to receive Royal Assent in the next two years.

In the low-key State Opening of Parliament, which set out the legislation the government intends to introduce in the coming session, it was announced that the High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill that would take the line between Fradley and Crewe will be introduced. The £3.5bn line is scheduled to open in 2027.

The Speech also introduced bills for electric cars and the space industry. It confirmed the government’s support for the Paris climate agreement and also promised a full public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire.

The Speech also introduced proposals for T levels, the post-16 technical qualifications and also the new technology institutes. However there was no mention of Crossrail 2 or Heathrow.

Now that the Queen’s Speech has been delivered, it is time to “concentrate our efforts” said ICE director general Nick Baveystock.

“Political challenges and Brexit negotiations will undoubtedly occupy people’s minds but we cannot lose sight of the long term infrastructure issues if we are to deliver projects that answer the needs of future generations. We need to consolidate the UK’s status as an attractive place to invest in infrastructure assets, make sure that Brexit does not create a skills crisis and exploit our world class engineering capability to become a global leader in innovation,” he said.

Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) director of external affairs Marie-Claude Hemming said it welcomed the HS2 announcement, but it is just one of a number of schemes that need the go-ahead to boost the economy.

“In particular, we would like to hear more detail about the government’s plans for Crossrail 2, which was conspicuous in its absence from the Conservative manifesto,” she said.

“This is just one of a range of schemes that we must now prioritise and bring forward to market to deliver post-Brexit growth.

“After a period of uncertainty cause by the unexpected election result, it is vital that the government does all in its power to boost investment, rebalance the economy, and provide the visibility industry requires to deliver the economic growth businesses and communities rely upon.”

WSP UK head of rail Darren Reed added: “The backing of the next phase of HS2 to provide much needed capacity for the UK rail network, alongside the Chancellor’s plans to expand financial support for infrastructure projects, is the reassurance the industry has been waiting for.

“As we enter Brexit talks, we need more than ever to invest in game-changing infrastructure and develop economic corridors that better connect cities and drive economic growth across the UK. HS2 will not only provide a source of employment for thousands but a new platform of which the UK can be proud.”

Meanwhile Aecom chief executive Patrick Flaherty said: “Given the difficult circumstances the government faces following the recent election, there was a lot to welcome in today’s speech. We were especially pleased that the new modern industrial strategy played such a prominent role and agree with the government about the vital importance of infrastructure investment to the future of the nation’s prosperity.

“Commitments to HS2, electric cars and protecting critical infrastructure were all welcome. However, we would also liked to have seen Crossrail 2 and the Heathrow expansion mentioned.”

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