Hybrid bill for HS2 first phase passed
High speed rail link moves a step closer to reality
Once finalised, the bill will give permission for construction of the first phase of the line between London and Birmingham to be built.
MPs voted 399 to 42 in favour of the bill, which will now pass to the House of Lords. Subject to completing its parliamentary passage, construction of the line will begin next year.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Once again, Parliament has backed HS2 and brought this vital new railway one step closer to reality.
“British contractors are now bidding to build the line, British apprentices are waiting to work on it and British cities are waiting to benefit from it.
“We expect HS2 to begin construction next year. As we enter this new phase, I make three pledges – we will work closely with those communities affected by the HS2 route, we will keep a firm group on costs and we will drive maximum value for money from this new railway.”
However, Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham, hit out at the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd and criticised the government for its decision to truncate the time to debate the bill in the Commons.
She said: “After six years of unadulterated hell for my constituents in Chesham and Amersham, this is not good governance and makes a mockery of the democratic process.
“It is typical of the attitude of HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport towards this House, echoing the disrespect shown to my constituents who have been treated contemptuously in some instances by people working on HS2.
“The prime minister promised the most environmentally friendly government ever and that compensation for people affect by HS2 would be fair and generous.
“This project still damages more than 8km of a nationally designated environmentally protected area. My constituents are still fighting for fair treatment and compensation.”