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Boris to address Tory conference

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson addresses a rally of Conservative supporters . Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

Boris Johnson is due to address the Conservative party at its annual conference in Birmingham today.

The London Mayor arrived at the event yesterday.

Speaking at a rally, he said Ukip should throw its weight behind the Tories to help defeat Labour.

Missing London teenager 'may be in Birmingham'

Police are searching for a teenager missing from south London. 17-year-old Monica Saini Singh may have travelled to Peterborough or Birmingham with her boyfriend.

Monica Saini Credit: Metropolitan Police

Monica was last seen on Wednesday, 12 February as she travelled from Sutton to Tooting. She is 5ft 2ins tall, of slim build with very long brown hair.

Anyone with information can call police on 101.


Public doubts on HS2 time and cost

Train passes through Ashford, Kent, using the HS1 Channel Tunnel Rail Link. The routes of HS2 have been unveiled. Credit: PA

Most people back the HS2 high-speed rail project but few think the £33 billion scheme will be completed on time and within budget, according to a survey.

As many as 52% are in favour of HS2, the first phase of which, between London and Birmingham, is scheduled to be ready by 2026.

Only 18% are against it and 30% are uncertain, the survey of 1,599 adults conducted by market research firm Consumer Intelligence found.

The second phase, from Birmingham to the North of England, is due to be ready by around 2032/33.

The poll found that just 8% believe HS2 will be completed within its proposed budget and only 11% reckon it will be finished on schedule.

When asked whether the budgeted expenditure was a worthwhile use of public money, there was less support, with 42% saying no and 40% saying yes.

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'This project is vital for the economy' says HS2 chief

A High Court judge has ruled in favour of campaigners challenging the Government's handling of HS2, the high speed rail route through the Midlands.

Although he rejected all but one of five legal challenges, Mr. Justice Ouseley said the Government's consultation process was unlawful.

HS2 Ltd argue the high-speed rail will boost the economy:

"This project is vital for the economy and for our country going forward. We need the capacity , we need to improve the connectivity between our major cities. The judgement today gives us the green light to press on with the project and deliver that for our major cities."

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Anti-HS2 group wants property bonds from Govt

A spokesman for the anti-HS2 group that was successful in its High Court case over the compensation consultation suggested that the Government should issue property bonds:

We don't have a value for what the compensation bill will be.

One way for the Government to help would be to issue property bonds to ensure the housing market remains liquid.

Existing owners may have to sell at a discount because of the blight.

But bonds could be issued to ensure the person buying would have a guarantee that the Government would make up the difference if the price fell below a certain level.

This could help prevent people being unable to sell and remaining trapped in their homes for a long period of time when a change in their circumstances, such as a change of job, required them to sell.

– HS2AA spokesman Richard Houghton


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Government to re-consult on HS2 compensation

HS2 promotional image Credit: HS2 Ltd

The government will have to reconsult on compensation for people who live along the route of the proposed HS2 after a High Court judge ruled in favour of an anti-HS2 protest group.

The HS2AA group financed the case after appealing to the community for help.

Mr. Justice Ouseley upheld the challenge to the government's proposed compensation scheme on the grounds its consultation process was so unfair as to be unlawful .

Four other challenges to the Secretary of State were rejected. Joe Rukin from HS2AA said he was happy that one of the group's claims was upheld, but that HS2 would still be a disaster for many in the Midlands.

HS2 Ltd told ITV News Central, they are delighted with the overall outcome and HS2 is now on track bringing a boost to the region's economy with a super fast link from Birmingham to London. It will cost £33bn.

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Residents living near HS2 route 'should not bear burden'

A lawyer from the firm who represented High Speed 2 Action Alliance (HS2AA) - who won a case against the government today - expressed delight over the victory on the compensation challenge.

This was never a Nimby argument. Many thousands of people living along the route will not be able to sell their homes for some 15 years because their homes are blighted.

They should not have to bear the burden for this national project.

We hope now that proper arrangements are put in place by the Government for compensation for those who live by the proposed HS2 route to make it possible for them to move if and when they wish, in the same way that the rest of us can.

– Richard Stein, Leigh Day law firm who represented HS2AA
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Rail Minister Simon Burns says this is a major landmark victory for HS2

Rail Minister Simon Burns says this is a major landmark victory for HS2 Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Government hailed the court's dismissal of four of the five cases against it as a "landmark victory".

Rail Minister Simon Burns said: "We have listened to the judge's comments about the property compensation consultation and, to save time and public money, we will re-consult on this aspect - but this will not delay HS2.

We remain fully committed to fairly compensating the public who are impacted by the scheme."

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