Leg­is­la­tion de­lay puts brakes on north­ern stretch of HS2

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

Pow­er­house Rail, which is a scheme to boost east-west rail con­nec­tions across the re­gion.

Trans­port Sec­re­tary Chris Grayling an­nounced last sum­mer that the tabling of a bill in Par­lia­ment for phase 2b - run­ning from Crewe to Manch­ester, and Birm­ing­ham to Leeds - would take place next year.

But the Gov­ern­ment is pre­par­ing to pause this un­til 2020, ac­cord­ing to The Times.

The DfT would not con­firm the de­lay, but is­sued a state­ment which said: “In or­der to max­imise the huge po­ten­tial of HS2, it is im­por­tant to make sure it takes full ac­count of the emerg­ing vi­sion for the other trans­for­ma­tive project of North­ern Pow­er­house Rail. Phase 2b of the rail­way will con­nect the great cities of the North to boost jobs, hous­ing and eco­nomic growth, and re­mains on track to open in 2033. We will up­date Par­lia­ment as part of our con­sul­ta­tion this au­tumn.”

The devel­op­ment came as Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn trav­elled on the North­ern Pow­er­house Rail route to high­light his party’s com­mit­ment to pro­vide at least £10 bil­lion to fund the scheme.

Ju­dith Blake, leader of Leeds City Coun­cil and mem­ber of the West York­shire Com­bined Author­ity, claimed it is “im­per­a­tive” that HS2 is opened in north­ern Eng­land as sched­uled.

She said: “Any de­lay in the process which will de­liver HS2 to the North is con­cern­ing and it is es­sen­tial that this does not have a knock-on im­pact on the timetable for con­struc­tion or the open­ing of the east­ern leg.”

Phase 1 of HS2 - run­ning from Lon­don to Birm­ing­ham in De­cem­ber 2026 - was ap­proved 18 months ago.

A bill for Phase 2b from Birm­ing­ham to Crewe in 2027 is cur­rently go­ing through Par­lia­ment.

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