The leader of a campaign group opposed to the building of HS2 - the High speed rail line which cut journey times from Birmingham to London in half - has been putting his case to MPs.
Joe Rukin is challenging a bid by HS2 Ltd - appointed to build the £50billion pound line - who claim that Stop HS2 has no legal right to petition the select committee now considering the actual route. He's hoping the challenge will be overturned.
The Transport Secretary has said it's vital to get the "best people" working on HS2, after it emerged that thirty staff could be better paid than the Prime Minister.
The Transport Secretary & Derbyshire Dales MP Patrick McLoughlin said the proposed salaries were within the budget set and would involve hiring engineers with established skills.
But he said all salaries would have to be approved by the Treasury.
A group of MPs are due to meet up to three times a week to discuss opposition to HS2, the High Speed rail line.
Almost 2,000 petitions have been sent in - and all of them have to be heard and discussed before building work can begin. The first meeting takes place today.
The MPs will meet two or three times a week to hear the petitions - and it's expected to take around two years.
A group of MPs from the West Midlands are calling on ministers to drop plans to use a piece of land in the middle of Birmingham as a construction yard for HS2.
Among them is Liam Byrne who wants the site at the junction of Ladywood, Erdington and Hodge Hill to be developed instead, which he believes could create up to 7,000 jobs.
Under current plans, once the high speed rail line has been constructed, the site would become a yard for trains.
A National College to train people to build HS2 could be built in Birmingham or Derby after the sites were shortlisted by the Government.
Doncaster and Manchester have also been shortlisted as locations for the college.
Church leaders have condemned the planned route for HS2, warning that it will run through graveyards and disturb human remains.
The Archbishops' Council, which includes the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, says the route will destroy three burial grounds including one in Birmingham.
In a letter to the House of Commons they say not enough is being done to ensure exhumed remains are treated in a reverent manner. They say the Bill allowing HS2 to go ahead should not be passed into law.
Janet Gough, from the Archbishop's Council, has told ITV News that a specific clause is needed in the legislation behind HS2 to ensure Bishops can oversee exhumation and reburial.
The Department for Transport says burial grounds have been avoided as much as possible and all remains will be treated with dignity, respect and care.
A majority of MP's have voted in favour of giving the HS2 bill a second reading, with 452 to 41 backing the principle of the HS2 project.
A total of 47 Conservative MPs missed the vote and 41 MPs either opposed the HS2 plans or backed an amendment put forward by former Cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan.
- Peter Bone (Wellingborough)
- Andrew Bridgen (Leicestershire North West)
- Bill Cash (Stone)
- Michael Fabricant (Lichfield)
- Philip Hollobone (Kettering)
- Chris Kelly (Dudley South)
- Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford)
- Chris Pincher (Tamworth)
- Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury)
- Caroline Spelman (Meriden)
- Sir Peter Tapsell (Louth & Horncastle)
- Chris White (Warwick & Leamington)
- Dan Byles (Warwickshire North)
- Bill Wiggin (Herefordshire North)
- Mark Pawsey (Rugby)
Tonight's vote in Parliament on the HS2 bill means the high-speed rail line will begin construction in 2017, the Transport Secretary has confirmed.
Patrick McLoughlin also tried to calm the fears of anti-HS2 campaigners over the impact of the proposed route on their areas, saying:
"I am aware of the concerns some who live very close to the HS2 route have. I am confident however that by working together we can ensure this vital new north-south railway is designed in the right way, and we will have spades in the ground in 2017 as planned."
ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship has been following the votes on the HS2 bill in the House of Commons.
MPs have now voted in favour of giving the legislation a second reading.
As a debate takes place in the House of Commons ahead of a vote on whether HS2 will go ahead in principle, the HS2 Action Alliance have released alternative pictures to campaign against the project.
They argue HS2 would damage the countryside, and cost too much money.