Government presses ahead with HS2 link

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The Government showed its clear determination to keep the £33bn HS2 rail project linking Yorkshire with the capital firmly on track with two new pieces of legislation.

As revealed in Monday’s Yorkshire Post, Ministers will bring forward both a ‘Hybrid Bill’ allowing the construction of the first phase of HS2, and a ‘Paving Bill’ preparing the ground for the project’s second phase, before the end of the year.

The Hybrid Bill will give the Government formal Parliamentary permission to build the first stage of the line between London and Birmingham, as well as the 
specific powers needed to operate it.

However, Commons experts warned that hybrid Bills can often be long and very detailed, and usually take longer to go through Parliament than normal Bills.

The Channel Tunnel Link Hybrid Bill did not become law until December 1996, more than two years after it was introduced in Parliament.

The Paving Bill, meanwhile, will provide the financial powers to proceed with the scheme’s second phase as quickly as possible.

Number 10 said the Bill will allow expenditure on the construction design of HS2, as well ecological surveys and other preparatory work. It will also provide Parliamentary authority for expenditure on property compensation.

Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: “The inclusion of the HS2 legislation is good news for both passengers and the economy.

“This commitment is the next important step in securing a modern rail network linking the north and south of Britain which will unlock significant economic and environmental benefits.

“A new high-speed line, alongside sustained investment in the existing network, is key to providing the extra capacity today’s booming rail industry will need.”