Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin gave this statement after MPs voted in favour for work to being on HS2 in 2017:
By voting in favour of the hybrid Bill, Parliament has made a clear commitment to a key part of the government’s long term economic plan. HS2 is a once in a generation opportunity to create jobs and develop skills, provide the extra space we need on our rail network for commuters and freight and better connect our biggest cities.
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.
Work on the High Speed Two rail link will begin in 2017 as planned after MPs voted in favour of it last night.
The bill passed its 2nd reading in the Commons with MPs voting 452 to 41 in favour.
Several villages are in the path of the proposed route through Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
The government has confirmed that MPs will vote on the HS2 Phase 1 Hybrid Bill later this month.
Former Cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan, who led the rebellion against the HS2 scheme which will cut through Tory heartlands in the Chilterns, indicated that she would keep up the fight by scrutinising the project "inch by inch" as it progressed through Parliament.