Boris Johnson gives HS2 green light

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Boris Johnson has given the go ahead to the controversial HS2 project, despite concerns over its budget and protests against its environmental impact.

The Cabinet discussed the high speed railway proposals in a meeting this morning before the Prime Minister announced the final decision in the House of Commons.

Mr Johnson said: "There will be changes to the way HS2 is managed. We will, in line with Mr Oakervee's recommendations, be interrogating the current cost to identify where savings can be made in phase one without the cost and delays that would be associated with a detailed redesign.

"And, so that the company can focus solely on getting phases 1 and 2A built on something approaching time and budget, I will be creating new delivery arrangements for both the grossly behind-schedule Euston terminus and phase 2B of the wider project."

High-speed trains would also run beyond the new lines on existing tracks as far as Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The project, now ten years in the making, has long been the subject of criticism and debate after being plagued by delays and spiralling costs.

The government-owned company responsible for developing and building the railway – HS2 Ltd – said the new infrastructure will boost capacity and cut journey times.

The rail was due to open in December 2026, but HS2 Ltd chairman Allan Cook projected last year that it would more likely be between 2028 and 2031.

And a government-commissioned review into whether HS2 should go ahead – the Oakervee review – found the plan could cost up to £106 billion, more than double the initial estimation.

Meanwhile, environmental campaigners have been staging protests up and down the proposed route in a bid to stop construction work – they say that the project will destroy acres of irreplaceable ancient woodland.

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