HS2 Legislation for Phase One approaches its final stop as the Hybrid Bill is on route to Royal Assent
The House of Lords considered any final amendments to the HS2 Bill for the route between London and Birmingham on 31 January 2017, before it was passed and returned to the House of Commons.
After more than three years of debate, a last attempt to prevent the scheme from going ahead was put forward by Lord Framlingham as he proposed that rather than the Bill “now” go ahead, that it “not” go ahead. He suggested there were “countless failings” surrounding the project and that despite its proposed costs of £56 billion, these would in fact be closer to £80 billion. Baroness Mallaleiu went further to say that “the reality is that it is likely to be cheaper to fly than pay the fares which will have to be charged on [the HS2] line”.
The arguments in support of HS2 were repeated, including that the line will help to solve capacity problems that are likely to continue increasing in the coming years. Construction costs point was also addressed by Lord Adonis, who stated that if the Bill was not passed, upgrades will in any event need to be carried out to the rail networks which are likely to be of a similar cost, and such upgrades are unlikely to produce the level of capacity that HS2 can achieve.
It is now expected that construction for Phase One of HS2 (Birmingham to London) will begin imminently as we prepare for the scheme to become a reality. After receiving Royal Assent (currently expected to be granted later this month) the Bill will grant the authority for compulsory acquisitions, building work and diversions of highways and waterways to go ahead. It is envisioned that the line will be operational by December 2026 with 11 new platforms in place by 2033.
Phase 2a (West Midlands to Crewe) and Phase 2b (Crewe to Manchester, West Midlands to Leeds, South Yorkshire and East Midlands) will each be subject to their own hybrid Bill being passed. It is anticipated that the Bill for Phase 2a will be placed before Parliament this year, with hope that it will receive Royal Assent in 2019. All those landowners and occupiers likely to be affected by the route of Phase 2a would be wise to prepare and take professional advice now.
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