HS2 approval receives mixed reaction

by Tiffany Millar on January 11, 2012

The plan for a new £33bn high-speed rail link in Britain has received a mixed reaction, a day after getting the green light from the Coalition.

The British Chambers of Commerce insisted that the plan would be warmly welcomed by UK businesses the length and breadth of the land. In opposition though, critics have said that the route is to damage the environment while disputing projected benefits of £47bn and branding the plan a “white elephant”.

Transport Secretary Justine Greening beamed when telling of how she had given the go ahead for a “railway revolution in Britain”. In a statement made at the House of Commons, she said that a service that is both modern and reliable between major cities in Britain is fitting for the developments of the 21st Century and will transform the way in which Britons travel while promoting economic and social prosperity.

Phase one of HS2, which will link London and Birmingham, the UK’s two largest cities, should be up and running by 2026 before later extending to the north of England or more specifically a Y-shaped route that will include Manchester and Leeds. That particular phase should be completed around 2033 although a consultation on it won’t begin until the start of 2014.

A key parliamentary vote on HS2 isn’t likely until next year or 2014, but the Coalition would win any votes as the plan has also received backing by the main opposition, the Labour party, which notably first proposed this project before being ousted from power.

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