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Grayling announces £70m HS2 funding

Words: Laura Edgar

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has confirmed the government’s commitment to High Speed 2 (HS2) as well as announcing £70 million worth of funding to support local communities and road safety along the London-to-West Midlands route.

Speaking at the Transport Times HS2 conference this week, Grayling said: “You can take it from me, HS2 is going ahead.”

He added: “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.”

Grayling also announced plans to make £70 million of government funds available to support local communities and road safety along the route between London and the West Midlands.

The £70 million will be spread out across three separate funds:

  •    The HS2 Community and Environment Fund (CEF);
  •    The Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF); and
  •    A £30 million road safety fund.

The government said the CEF aims to enhance community facilities, improve access to the countryside and conserve the natural environment along the phase one route. The BLEF aims to support local economies in areas where business may experience disruption from the construction of HS2.

Together, they will provide £40 million, which will be allocated at a regional level:

  •    £15 million for Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Buckinghamshire;
  •    £7.5 million for Greater London;
  •    £7.5 million for Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry; and
  •    £10 million unallocated to allow flexibility to fund cross-border or route-wide projects.

Community groups, charities, non-governmental organisation and business support specialists would be able to bid for grants from the CEF and BLEF funds. These will be awarded from 2017 until the first year of operation, which is expected to be 2026.

Construction on HS2 is due to start during the first half of 2017.

Image credit | Crown Copyright