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Could parts of HS2 go underground?

There are calls for parts of the planned HS2 rail link in our region to built underground to protect wildlife.

A report commissioned by Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust says that hundreds of special sites could be seriously affected.

HS2 artist impression Credit: HS2 Ltd

They're calling on the government to create a plan for restoring nature if the construction work goes ahead.

Meanwhile a second report from group of local councils says tunnelling under the Chilterns should be considered to protect the area of outstanding natural beauty.

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Sir David Higgins: HS2 'vital for the future' of UK

HS2 boss Sir David Higgins has said the project was "vital for the future of the country".He added: "The cost and impact have to be recognised and acknowledged, but so too do the cost and impact of doing nothing.

Sir David Higgins. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

"Without HS2, the people of this country will continue to face the failures of our transport system on a daily basis.

"This contingency has pushed the price of phase one, from London to Birmingham, up to £21.4 billion with £3 billion for the trains, while the cost of the second phase, taking the line in a Y-shape to north west and north east England is put at £21.2 billion with around £4.5 billion for the trains."

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HS2 boss to say he would like to start second phase

Launching his report in Manchester, Sir David Higgins, HS2's recently appointed chairman, will say that he would like work to start on the second phase at the same time as the first phase.

An anti HS2 sign in Whittington, Staffordshire. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The second phase, taking the line in a Y-shape to north west and north east England is set for completion around 2032/33. He is also expected to recommend a completely new station at Euston - the site for the line's London terminus.

Sir David, the former London Olympics supremo who has joined HS2 Ltd after being Network Rail chief executive, is also expected to recommend scrapping plans to link HS2 with HS1, the London to Kent coast Channel Tunnel high-speed line.

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Cable: 'Compelling case' to speed up HS2 extension

Business Secretary Vince Cable has said there is a "compelling case" to speed up the extension of the controversial HS2 high speed rail link to the cities of the north.

Business Secretary Vince Cable with David Cameron at a 10 Downing Street reception last summer. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

His intervention came as HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins prepared to outline his plan for an accelerated construction timetable while reducing the cost of the #50 billion infrastructure project.

Sir David, who will publish his report on later, will also issue an appeal to the main political parties to unite behind the scheme.

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HS2 could increase flood risk

MPs have voiced concerns that the planned route of the HS2 high-speed rail link could increase the risk of flooding.

Politicians say there needs to be a full flooding risk assessment along the £42 billion route which will run through parts of Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire.

They say the line will concrete over farmland which currently serves as natural flood protection.

Developers HS2 Ltd say they are inspecting the route for signs of flood risk.

HS2: Businesses in the East 'could suffer'

New figures have revealed towns and cities in this region could be among the hardest hit by the proposed HS2 rail link.

The report suggests businesses will leave places like Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire, and relocate to other areas with better links to the high speed train line.

It could cost the economy in the East hundreds of millions of pounds.

Click below to watch Tanya Mercer's report.

  1. National

HS2 'needed as network will be full by mid-2020s'

The HS2 high-speed railway project is needed because without it, the existing rail network will be "full by the mid-2020s", the Department for Transport said today, after the Institute of Directors slammed the initiative.

A train passes through Church Fenton, North Yorkshire where it is proposed the HS2 railway will link with the East Coast Mainline. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

A spokeswoman said: "The scheme is forecast to generate over £50 billion of benefits for the UK economy but we know we must maximise every economic benefit HS2 has to offer.

"That is why the HS2 Growth Taskforce was created, headed up by Lord Deighton, to work with city and business leaders to ensure we are capitalising on every opportunity to help regeneration, job creation, investment opportunities and in building a skilled UK economy."

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