Construction of the first phase of the £56bn High Speed 2 (HS2) rail line is set to begin after the bill giving it the planning go-ahead finally received Royal Assent today.
The green light for the route between London and the West Midlands comes after the recent announcement of the Phase 2b development partner and engineering and environmental consultants for phase 2b.
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.”
HS2 Ltd chairman David Higgins added: “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.”
The move has been welcomed by the civils sector. The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) head of external affairs Marie-Claude Hemming said: “CECA has long championed HS2 as being central to the diverse portfolio of transport projects the UK will rely upon in the coming years.
“HS2 will not only deliver jobs and growth across the country, but will be a major step in tackling the capacity crisis on the UK’s rail network.”