Contracts will soon be let for detailed design work, ground investigation and ecological surveys for the £50Bn HS2 high speed railway, and the project’s Hybrid Bill will get its first reading in the House of Commons on Monday following granting of Royal Assent.
Royal Assent was granted after the HS2 Paving Act completed its passage through Parliament this week with little opposition from MP’s or members of the House of Lords, marking a major milestone for the controversial project. The Hybrid Bill will give the government the rest of the powers that it needs to build and operate the proposed new line.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This is a major milestone in the HS2 project. The new north-south railway needs cross party backing, so I am very pleased that MP’s representing constituencies across the country and Peers from all three main parties have again given a clear signal of support.”
HS2 is now able to let contacts for designing the construction of the line, on Phase One and Phase Two and any future extensions of the high speed rail network. It also now has powers for designing the realignment of existing railways, planning the movement of and provision of utilities, carrying out ground investigation and ecological surveys and making compensation payments to affected homeowners.
The Transport Secretary will appear before the House of Commons Transport Select Committee on Tuesday next week along with the authors of a report from KPMG in September that said the new railway would boost the UK economy by £15Bn a year. Critics claim that the methodology used for the report is flawed and it also ignores the impact on regions not actually on the proposed line.