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HS2 debate in Parliament

Artist's impression

The proposed high speed rail link between London and the North could come a step closer today. MPs are expected to discuss the first phase of the controversial HS2 project which would run between London and Birmingham.

Final day to have your say on HS2

Artist impression

Today is the final day for the public to have their say on the HS2 rail link connecting Manchester to the south.

There has been strong opposition to the plans along parts of the route. Since the consultation opened on 17 July last year HS2 Ltd has held more than 37 public information events all along the line of the proposed route. Head of consultation Farahnaz Ashouri said:

"I very much encourage people to have their say on the proposed route of the new high speed line that will connect up Leeds and Manchester to Birmingham. It is vitally important that we get their local knowledge.

People can respond to the consultation here.

Once the consultation closes on 31 January, the independent report on the responses will be submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin. He will then announce the government's decision on the Phase Two route towards the end of the year.

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Labour: HS2 will address 'cramped, miserable journeys'

Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh has said that Labour supports the HS2 plan as it will address the need for more rail capacity across the country.

Not everyone supports the plan as seen in an anti HS2 sign in Whittington, Staffordshire.

She said: "Labour supports HS2 because we must address the capacity problems that mean thousands of commuters face cramped, miserable journeys into Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and London.

"However, three years of Government delays and mismanagement has caused costs to balloon. Incompetent ministers have only just launched the consultation on phase 2 of the route, despite the fact that it was being worked on when Labour were in government."

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HS2 Bill outlines powers to turn network into reality

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.

Lord Heseltine backs HS2

Lord Heseltine says HS2 will "draw together" Britain's economy. Credit: PA

Tory grandee Lord Heseltine - a former Minister for Merseyside - has declared his support for the £50 billion HS2 high-speed rail project.

The one time Deputy Prime Minister says the scheme's timetable should be accelerated and that the private sector should contribute to the cost.

He says: "HS2 is about our country's competitiveness for a half century or more.

"It is about so many more people sharing growth that has, for too long, been concentrated on London and the South East.

HS2 is set to cost £42.6 billion plus £7.5 billion for the trains Credit: HS2/PA Wire

The first phase of HS2 is due for completion in 2026, with the second phase, taking the line to north east and north west England, due to be completed by 2032/33

  1. Daniel Hewitt - Political Reporter

MPs vote in favour of HS2

34 MPs voted against plans to begin the process of starting the rail project. They were debating whether or not to release funds to pay for surveys, buy property and compensate evicted residents. 350 voted in favour.

I understand Tory MP for Bury North David Nuttall voted against the government.

HS2 plans for Manchester to be displayed at exhibition

Artist's impressions of HS2 at Piccadilly Station Credit: Bennetts Associates

An exhibition showing detailed plans for the proposed high speed rail link from London to Manchester opens today.

HS2 will link the cities in the second phase of the scheme which is due to open in 21 years time.

The HS2 Growth Taskforce will be in Manchester as part of a series of roadshows designed to ensure regions maximise the benefits of high speed rail.

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