Today the government has approved the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail project. The announcement has been made by the Prime Minister and will improve transport lines, create jobs and stimulate economic growth.
“Today the Cabinet has given high speed rail line the green signal.” The House of Commons was told by Boris Johnson, he also said that a Minister, whose full-time job would be to oversee HS2 will be appointed.
The high-speed rail network will eventually mean lesser journey times between key parts of the rest of the country and the Midlands and attract more skilled workers to take up employment in the area. Journey times from London to Birmingham will be cut from 1 hour 21 minutes to 52 minutes according to the Department for Transport.
The project is split into 2 phases, Phase 1 will cover lines from London to Birmingham and Phase 2 of the project will link Birmingham with the north.
Westminster is set to approve the whole line, however, it will try to make cost cutting changes to the second phase of the project, the routes from Manchester and Leeds, due to pressure regarding the overall cost of the project.
Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
“The decision to proceed with HS2 was a long time coming – so it’s great news for businesses, investment and growth in many parts of the UK.
“It’s time to stop debating and start delivering the new capacity and connections that HS2 will bring to our communities and business.”
During the Election campaign the government’s manifesto promised to ‘level up’ the UK by investing more in regions outside of London, with the government giving HS2 the go ahead, along with supporting other transport projects, will give the Midlands the support it has needed for a long time.
HS2 is scheduled to be completed by 2040, 7 years later than originally planned, and is already over budget and behind schedule, in January it was reported that the costs could hit £106bn (20% more than originally was budgeted).
With the news that the government are backing the project, it is the hope that construction on one of the most demanding and ambitious transport projects in Europe can begin shortly.