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.