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HS2 bill receives Royal Assent

Words: Laura Edgar
HS2 train

The High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) hybrid Bill has gained Royal Assent after more than three years of scrutiny by Parliament.

The government has said construction on phase one will begin in the spring.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: "Getting the go-ahead to start building HS2 is a massive boost to the UK’s future economic prosperity and a further clear signal that Britain is open for business.

“Royal Assent is a major step towards significantly increasing capacity on our congested railways for both passengers and freight; improving connections between the biggest cities and regions; generating jobs, skills and economic growth and helping build an economy that works for all.”

HS2 is expected to create around 25,000 jobs during construction, a wider 100,000 jobs and 2,000 apprenticeships.

Alongside the assent, schemes worth £70 million for communities along the route between London and Birmingham have launched. These are the Homeowner Payment (HOP) scheme; the Community Environment Fund; the Business and Local Economy Fund and a road safety fund.

Bob Sleigh, chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority, said: “This is the news that the West Midlands has been waiting for. HS2 is going to happen and we’re ready to capitalise fully on the opportunities it offers to transform places, create jobs and attract investment.

“Royal Assent is important because it makes HS2 an absolute reality and means the West Midlands can now fully deliver its HS2 ambitions. Those ambitions have a clear focus on jobs, apprenticeships, major investment at the two station sites in Solihull and Birmingham and millions of pounds of contract opportunities for West Midlands SMEs.”

Sleigh said HS2 is more than a fast train; its arrival will allow the area to “create a legacy and will help secure your future, your children’s future and probably your grandchildren’s future too”.  

Image credit | HS2