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  1. National

HS2 'will start in 2017', Transport Secretary confirms

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.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin at the proposed site of the HS2 East Midlands Hub in Long Eaton Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/Press Association Images

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."

  1. National

MPs vote to give HS2 bill a second reading

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.

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Anti-HS2 campaigners release alternative project pictures

The alternative picture of HS2 to those widely used Credit: HS2 Action Alliance

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.

MPs to vote on HS2 legislation today

The controversial £50bn high speed rail line which will link Birmingham and the East Midlands with London and the north enters a key phase of its development today when MPs debate and vote on legislation.

The second reading of the HS2 Hybrid Bill allows the House of Commons to approve the project in principle.

Cheryl Gillan, the Tory MP for Chesham and Amersham, has pressed for an extra day's debate on Bill:

I'm sure you and the usual channels would not want to short-change MPs or our constituents outside, and I am asking for a second day's debate on April 29...

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.

– Cheryl Gillan MP

Debate on controversial HS2 to begin April 28

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 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. 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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