New HS2 timetable agreement welcomed

MP Robert Goodwill
MP Robert Goodwill
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A NEW TIMETABLE for the HS2 railway project agreed by MPs has been welcomed by a Yorkshire politician.

The agreement means a special committee examining the plans, which are slowly moving through Parliament under the unusual “hybrid Bill” procedure, can consider the latest tweaks to the route and the planned works to build the line.

The £50 billion line is opposed by many who live along the proposed route. The amendments give newly affected people an additional four weeks to petition the committee and raise complaints and concerns about the plans, which will link London to Birmingham with high speed trains by 2026.

A second phase is proposed to extend the line to Manchester and Leeds, via Sheffield, by 2033.

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill. MP for Scarborough, said: “These amendments demonstrate while the Government recognises the vital role HS2 has to play in transforming our transport network and our economy, we also recognise the need to listen to those directly affected by the railway and, wherever possible, seek to mitigate those impacts.”

Shadow minister Lilian Greenwood said: “Many of these revisions are undoubtedly positive and the campaigners who secured changes such as the reconfiguration of the route at the point it crosses the A38 deserve great credit. Those changes will reduce planning blight for petitioners and provide some measure of certainty to many of those who live along the route.”

Former Tory cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan, whose Chesham and Amersham constituency includes a large chunk of the route, said the process for people wishing to complain was not being properly scrutinised.