Hy­brid bill for HS2 first phase passed

High speed rail link moves a step closer to re­al­ity

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

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.”

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