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Home / News and Insights / Blogs / Planning Act 2008 / 765: All three HS2 phases advance

Today’s entry reports on progress on HS2.

This week, there was progress on all three phases of HS2, the high speed rail line proposed from London to Leeds and Manchester. It is divided into three phases: phase 1 is from London to the West Midlands, phase 2a is from the West Midlands to Crewe, and phase 2b is from the West Midlands to Leeds and Crewe to Manchester.

Phase 1

The news on phase 1 is that contractors have been appointed to build it. The route is divided into seven parts from Euston to the West Coast Main Line near Lichfield in Staffordshire, and the seven contracts have been awarded to four consortia of large companies. Three consortia get three contracts (Skanska, Costain and Strabag; Carillion, Eiffage and Keir; and Balfour Beatty and Vinci) and the fourth gets one (Bouygues, VolkerFitzpatrick and Sir Robert McAlpine). The first three consortia are unimaginatively named SCS, CEK and BBV, but the fourth is called ‘Align’ – maybe that’s why they only got one contract.

Phase 2a

The news on phase 2a is that the hybrid bill to authorise it has been introduced in Parliament. The High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill follows the phase 1 naming convention, it having been authorised by what is now the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Act 2017.

The phase 1 act is 457 pages long, and the phase 2a bill is only 220 pages long, indicating that the route is not as long – the route is also divided into five ‘community areas’ compared to 26 for phase 1. The Planning Act 2008 is disapplied three times – first, the railway itself is declared not to require development consent, then any electric lines built in connection with it are excluded, and finally the community infrastructure levy is declared not to be payable. This may save some of the £55.7 billion cost of the overall project.

There is a similar delay in providing electronic copies of the bill documents to phase 1 and a similar consultation on the Environmental Statement. The consultation is open until 30 September, perfect holiday reading (although you may need to pay for an extra suitcase).

The ability to petition against (ie object to) the bill won’t happen until after that and may not be until the new year.

Phase 2b

The news on phase 2b is that the route has been confirmed. There have been a few significant changes to the previous proposals, set out in this document. In summary the main changes are:

  • the route around Measham, Leicestershire is being amended to follow the A42;
  • a high rather than low level viaduct is to be used at Long Eaton, Derbyshire;
  • the previous main change is confirmed, that there should no longer be a station at Meadowhall outside Sheffield; instead, there should be spurs onto existing lines though Sheffield, while the main route passes to the east of Rotherham;
  • the eastern rolling stock depot location is moved from New Crofton to east of Leeds; and
  • there is a special document dealing with the effect on the new Shimmer housing estate in Mexborough.

The hybrid bill for phase 2b is not expected for at least another year.

So although the project remains controversial it is pressing ahead on all fronts.

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