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Debate on controversial HS2 to begin April 28

HS2 trains could have this design
HS2 trains could have this design Credit: HS@/PA Wire

Legislation for the HIgh Speed rail link will be debated by MPs for the first time on April 28.

Phase one of the line will allow a 49-minute link between London and the West Midlands from 2025.

The debate will see MPs discuss the principle of the link between London and the West Midlands and vote on the legislation as a whole.

A two day debate has been put forward by Cheryl Gillan, the Tory MP for Chesham and Amersham, rather than the typical one.

She said:

So many people's lives and homes and livelihoods are affected, so much environment is damaged and there is such a high risk with this project, this House deserves two days' debate on the second reading.

The date for the debate is provisional and could change.

Transport Secretary backs sooner build for HS2

The Transport Secretary and Derbyshire Dales MP, Patrick McLoughlin, has told the Commons he backs the recommendations to build the controversial High Speed rail link sooner and quicker.

It follows the recent report from the newly appointed HS2 Chairman Sir David Higgins calling for a new hub in Crewe to be built six years earlier than planned. The line will cut journey times from London to Birmingham to 49 minutes .

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Final report on HS2 calls for dedicated 'HS2 Minister'

The £50 billion high-speed rail project needs a dedicated HS2 Minister in government, a new report claims today.

The report, released by the HS2 Growth Taskforce, states that the minister would be able to push through projects which would allow regions to capitalise on the rail line.

Led by Lord Deighton, the report argues that the scale of HS2 was "without precedent" and "catalyse far-reaching economic and social benefits, particularly to the cities of the Midlands and the North".

It adds: "So it is clear to us that we cannot expect to get the most out of HS2 simply by following 'business as usual'."

Final report into HS2's economic potential to be unveiled

The final report examining the potential boost to the economy and job opportunities to come from the HS2 project is set to launch today.

The leader of Birmingham City Council Sir Albert Bore, who is also a member of the HS2 Growth Taskforce will unveil the 'Get Ready' report at the city's Science Museum in Digbeth.

Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore will launch the final HS2 report today
Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore will launch the final HS2 report today Credit: David Jones/PA

He will present the report to MP Stephen Hammond, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport.

The task force was set up last year to look at how the plans for the high-speed rail line linking London to the north via Birmingham could be exploited to create the biggest number of opportunities in the regions it passes through.

Council leaders to meet with HS2 to discuss benefits

Bosses at HS2 Ltd will meet with local business, transport and council leaders to outline how they believe the East Midlands can capitalise on the project.

The board will discuss how local transport links can be developed, and how the second phase of the planned HS2 rail line - which would cut through the region en route to Manchester - could boost the economy and increase the number of jobs available.

The proposed site of the HS2 East Midlands Hub in Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire.
The proposed site of the HS2 East Midlands Hub in Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

It comes just days after HS2 chairman David Higgins said he believed the new high speed rail link could be completed by 2030 - three years ahead of schedule.

Leaders of Derbyshire County Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Nottingham City Council, Derby City Council and Broxtowe Borough Council are among those expected to attend.

Environmental impact of HS2 to be examined

An MP select committee will examine the environmental impact of HS2 today.

A number of groups will give evidence, including the Environment Agency and the Stop HS2 campaign group.

HS2 trains could have this design Credit: HS2/PA Wire

Phase one of the line will provide a 49-minute link between London and the West Midlands from 2025.

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Birmingham business welcome faster HS2 build

Sir David Higgins, chairman of HS2 Ltd, is calling for the building of Phase 2 of the project to be brought forward by six years Credit: HS2 Ltd

Business leaders in Birmingham have welcomed calls by the chairman of HS2 to speed up construction of the line northwards from Birmingham through Staffordshire to Manchester.

Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said:

“I welcome Sir David’s comments on the potential of HS2 to drive transformational regeneration. “HS2 has always been about increased rail capacity and the potential to use the station investment in particular as a catalyst for a far-reaching programme of physical and skills-led transformation.”

“Sir David is right to highlight the cost advantages of building quickly. There are also huge commercial benefits to be had from connecting, for example, the great cities in the North as soon as possible so that we can reap the rewards of the new business that will be created.

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Campaigners: HS2 costs an 'attempt to con the public'

Campaign manager for Stop HS2 campaign has said any "pretence" that costs of the High Speed rail network are under control are a "con".

Joe Rukin said: "David Higgins has spent three months looking for cost savings for HS2 and he hasn't found a single bean. Any pretence that the costs of HS2 are under control are a fraudulent attempt to con the public."

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

He added that the £50 billion cost was "always too low, and represents the cost if the whole project was built in one year and that year was 2011".

"We know that these costs will continue to escalate. The only answer is to cancel the project and go back to the drawing board right now," he said.

Read: HS2 boss wants to fast-track high speed rail project

HS2 chief executive to give first press conference

Sir David Higgins believes construction of HS2 should be speeded up
Sir David Higgins believes construction of HS2 should be speeded up Credit: PA Wire

The new chief executive of HS2, Sir David Higgins, will today give his first press conference to present his thoughts about the high speed rail.

He believes the construction of HS2 should be speeded up in order to provide benefits sooner to the north of England.

Phase One of the project will link Birmingham with London from 2025.

Phase Two will run from Birmingham to Manchester and through the East Midlands into the north of England. It is expected to be completed in 2032/3.

Protests are expected to take place outside the conference against its construction.

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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."

Read: HS2 boss wants to fast-track high speed rail project

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