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The government today published the official bill detailing the route HS2 will take. It is 50,000 pages long and details a route across hundreds of kilometres of countryside
But the document was greeted by protests outside parliament, where campaigners from Yorkshire met with others from across the country to try to stop the project. They say it will blight their homes. Calendar's political correspondent Paul Brand reports
HS2 bill and the environmental statement that comes with it are 50,000 pages long - 5 times the height of these books.
The HS2 Hybrid Bill that is to go before Parliament will give details on how the first phase of the high speed rail project should progress.
The High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill will provide government powers to allow the construction and operation of the railway.
It will outline powers to:
- build and maintain the first phase of HS2 and its associated works, including secure planning permission for the works;
- compulsorily acquire interests in the land required;
- affect or change rights of way, including the stopping-up or diversion of highways and waterways (permanently or temporarily);
- modify infrastructure belonging to statutory undertakers (e.g. utility companies);
- carry out protective works to buildings and third-party infrastructure.
The publication of the Bill for phase one of the HS2 plan marks a significant milestone in the high speed rail project. Once Royal Assent has been achieved, it is expected that construction of the line from London to Birmingham will begin in 2016/2017 allowing the line to open in 2026.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the HS2 scheme was the 'most ambitious' infrastructure plan since the building of the M25 motorway around London.
– Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin
HS2 is the most ambitious and important infrastructure project in the UK since we built the M25 30 years ago, and in 30 more 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 the 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.
The future of Britain's high speed rail network enters a key phase of its development when a HS2 hybrid Bill goes before Parliament later today.
As part of the process, opponents of the £50 billion HS2 scheme will have the chance to petition Parliament and have their case heard by a committee of MPs.
The Government has also published an "environmental statement" for the London-Birmingham phase one of the scheme.
Campaigners against the HS2 rail scheme are going to Westminster today. It is as the Department for Transport will publish plans for the high speed line which will go to Parliament.
The HS2 Growth Taskforce is meeting key figures from across Yorkshire today as part of a series of roadshows designed to ensure regions maximise the benefits of high speed rail.
Supporters of HS2 claim it will play a key role in job creation, regeneration and development across the county. The journey time to and from London to Leeds will be cut from 2hrs12m to 1h23m.**
But opponents say it will cut a swathe through the countryside , cause a drop in house prices along the route and will be a very expensive white elephant.**
Commercial Secretary to the Treasury and Chair of the HS2 Growth Taskforce Lord Deighton said: *"HS2 will give a massive boost to Yorkshire, creating new employment and business opportunities, freeing up capacity on the railways and improving connections. *
"An estimated 70% of jobs from HS2 are expected to be outside the capital, which is why it is so vital that the Growth Taskforce meets with city and business leaders from across the country.**
"It is vital that Yorkshire does everything possible to maximise the benefits that the new north-south line offers."**
Taskforce member and Chair of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Roger Marsh said:"We are determined to squeeze out every possible benefit from HS2 for Leeds and the wider city region, so I am very pleased to welcome the Growth Taskforce to the city."