Government reaffirms commitment to HS2 construction
12 October 2016 • Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has reiterated Government commitment to pressing ahead with the UK’s next high speed rail link, HS2.
The Transport Secretary has confirmed the Government’s ongoing commitment to HS2 which it says will help tackle heightening capacity issues on the network and boost jobs and regeneration along the route. Construction on the high speed rail link is due to commence in the first half of 2017 with a decision on the HS2 Phase 2 route to Manchester and Leeds taken in the autumn.
HS2 construction due to begin first half of next year
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We need HS2 now more than ever.
“We’re facing a rapidly approaching crunch-point. In the last 20 years alone, the number of people travelling on our railways has more than doubled and our rail network is the most intensively used of any in Europe
“We need HS2 for the capacity it will bring on the routes between London, the West Midlands, Crewe, Leeds and Manchester, as well as the space it’ll create elsewhere on our transport network.
“We need it for the boost it will give to our regional and national economies.
“And we need it for the jobs it will create, and for the way it will link our country together.”
Mr Grayling also announced £70 million of funding designed to support local communities and road safety along the route between London and the West Midlands.
The investment is split into three funds: the HS2 Community and Environment Fund (CEF), the Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF), which together total £40m, and a £30m road safety fund. The CEF aims to enhance community facilities, improve access to the countryside and conserve the natural environment along the HS2 Phase 1 line of route, while the BLEF intends support local economies in areas where businesses may experience disruption from the construction of HS2.
Allocations were made by Cathy Elliott, the independent chair of the CEF and BLEF funds, at a local level: £15m for the Central area (Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Buckinghamshire); £7.5m for Greater London; £7.5m for the West Midlands (Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry); and £10m unallocated to allow flexibility to fund cross-border or route wide projects.