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High Speed 2

Volume 617: debated on Tuesday 15 November 2016

I would like to update the House on the progress of High Speed 2.

This Government are planning for the future and investing in world-class transport infrastructure to ensure that the UK can seize opportunities and compete on the global stage.

In a clear signal of how work is progressing on HS2 phase 1, this morning I am announcing that the following companies have been awarded the phase 1 enabling works contracts:

Area South—CS JV (Costain Group Pic, Skanska Construction UK Limited)

Area Central—Fusion JV (Morgan Sindall pic, BAM Nuttall Limited, Ferrovial Agroman (UK) Limited)

Area North-LM JV (Laing O’Rourke Construction Limited, J. Murphy & Sons Limited).

These contracts are worth up to £900 million in total and cover the whole of phase 1. The works include archaeological investigations, site clearance and the setting up of construction compounds ahead of the start of the main civil engineering work.

Today I have published a command paper, “High Speed Two: From Crewe to Manchester, the West Midlands to Leeds and beyond”, and accompanying maps setting out the detail of my preferred route for HS2 from Crewe to Manchester, and from the West Midlands to Leeds, with junctions onto the existing network. This is known as HS2 phase 2b.

This means that following on from the 2013 consultation and work we have done since, I am pleased today to be confirming the majority of the route. There are also a number of cases, including the proposed route through South Yorkshire recommended by Sir David Higgins in a report earlier this year, where I am proposing substantial refinements. I am launching a consultation to seek the views of communities and other interested parties before reaching a decision on those sections next year.

In all, there are seven refinements on which we are consulting, these are:

On the western leg:

To move the previously proposed rolling stock depot at Golborne to a site north of Crewe;

To move the approach to Manchester Piccadilly 370 metres eastwards with the northern tunnel portal in Ardwick, to avoid direct impacts on residential properties and a school at West Gorton; and,

To move the route in the Middlewich—Northwich area in Cheshire up to 800 metres westwards.

On the eastern leg:

To move the route to the east of Measham in Leicestershire, avoiding the most significant impacts on local manufacturing businesses and development sites;

To go around instead of tunnel under East Midlands airport;

To amend the alignment of the preferred route as it passes through Long Eaton to reduce severance in the local community and reduce impacts on the highway network and existing rail infrastructure; and,

To move the alignment of the route from Derbyshire to West Yorkshire to reflect a change in the proposals for serving the Sheffield city region, as recommended by Sir David Higgins in his report “Sheffield and South Yorkshire” published in July 2016.

In order to ensure our case is robust we have of course considered alternatives to the phase 2b scheme, but we have found no alternative that could deliver the same level of benefit for the country.

I am also issuing safeguarding directions for the whole of the preferred phase 2b route today. This protects the preferred route from conflicting development. But it also means that those people who are most affected by the plans to build phase 2b will now be able to access statutory compensation.

In addition, I will be consulting on discretionary property schemes. These will go over and above what is required by law and give assistance to those who will be adversely affected by the railway. These schemes are the same as those currently in operation for people living along the phase 1 route and I aim to be able to confirm the schemes on which I am consulting for phase 2b next year.

Two of these schemes will enter into operation on an interim basis, from today; these are Express Purchase and Need to Sell. Further information on property schemes can be found at:

I am placing copies of the documents in the Libraries of both Houses. Following consultation I plan to make a decision on these route refinements next year and to bring forward a hybrid Bill on phase 2b to lay before Parliament in 2019.

HS2 is an ambitious and exciting project and we must seize the opportunity it offers to transform our country for future generations. The route decision I have published today takes us an important step closer to realising the full potential of HS2.