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Tory MPs look to block HS2

Two Tory MPs are seeking to block laws that would pave the way for the controversial £50 million High Speed 2 railway, saying the line does not allow for construction to start from Leeds and Manchester.

HS2 artist impression
HS2 artist impression

Former minister Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) and ex-whip Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) have tabled an amendment calling on the Government to bring forward a cheaper and more environmentally "sympathetic" route.

They warn the line as set out in the High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill is "significantly more costly" than it need be to reduce damage to the environment.

They also want MPs to stop the Bill from receiving a second reading as they say it fails to connect to HS1 and the Channel Tunnel, lacks public transport to disperse passengers at Euston and does not offer direct connections to existing major mainline train stations.

The rail route also fails to connect to potential airport hubs in London and the South East, according to the amendment.

People whose homes are blighted by the route or are subject to compulsory purchase orders are provided with "inadequate" compensation by the Bill, the MPs say.

The duo add the line is "insensitively routed" through previously unspoiled countryside, which will cause unnecessary damage to wildlife habits, waterways and ancient woodlands, plus does not allow for construction work to begin from Manchester and Leeds.

Sir Edward and Mr Fabricant do recognise there is a need for more north-south services to ease congestion on the West Coast Mainline and improve links between London and major cities.

The Bill is scheduled to have its second reading in the Commons on April 28, the first day after the Easter recess.

The HS2 link between London, the Midlands and the North of England is expected to cost £42.6 billion, which includes contingencies, with £7.5 billion for the trains.

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Driving tests to return to Hull

Hull driving test centre set to reopen Credit: PA

Work has begun to get learner drivers back on the streets of Hull to take their driving test, after the city's test centre closed in September.

Drivers have had to travel to Beverley to take their test since the Driving Standards Agency was forced to close its Hull centre due to concerns over pollution from a nearby car recycling plant.

But now Hull City Council has offered temporary office space to the DSA, rent-free for six months, in a bid to get a test centre back up and running.

Councillor Martin Mancey said:

"Residents made it very clear to me and colleagues and that they wanted to see the test centre back in Hull. Its location in Beverley is making it more difficult for learners in the city to take their tests."

The DSA hope to reopen the existing test centre within the next three months, but they're also assessing the sites offered by the Council as an alternative.

Charity's warning over drivers breaking rules of road

Two in three drivers admit to breaking the rules of the road, say Brake Credit: PA

Two thirds of drivers admit to breaking traffic laws when behind the wheel, that's according to a new study by the road safety charity Brake.

It surveyed a thousand drivers and while almost all of them believe they are comparatively safe, the research found that over confidence and complacency is leading to widespread illegal risk taking on roads.

Report: Economic benefits of HS2

The government came out fighting today in its campaign to win over those who doubt the benefits of the revolutionary high speed rail link from London to the north.

The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the £40 billion scheme would be a "heart bypass for the clogged arteries" of Britain's transport system.

But many aren't so sure that towns and cities here will benefit from HS2 - including those who'll live nearest to the track.

Chris Kiddey reports.

Campaigners question the benefits of HS2

James Lynch from the So What campaign group

The government has come out fighting in its campaign to win over those who doubt the benefits of the new planned high speed rail link from London to Yorkshire.

The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the forty billion pound scheme would be a "heart bypass for the clogged arteries" of Britain's transport system.

But many of those who heard his words still aren't so sure that towns and cities here in the north will benefit from HS2 - particularly those who'll live nearest to the track.

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