The latest news from the Secretary of State for Transport on the much anticipated announcement about HS2 is that this will not now be made until January. In a Ministerial Statement by the Secretary of State to the House on 6 December, Justin Greening said:
“The Department for Transport’s business plan says that, following the consultation on high speed rail which was held earlier this year, we would complete the analysis of consultation responses and announce our subsequent decisions to Parliament in December.
Since taking up office in October, I have been considering the issues raised as part of the consultation and additionally have listened to the views of honourable Members. In order to ensure that my decision is based on a careful consideration of all relevant factors, I have concluded that I should allow myself until early in 2012 to announce my decisions. I am therefore notifying the House that I will not be making a further statement on the subject of high speed rail this year, but I expect to announce my decisions in January”.
The press have since reported that alternative tunnelling options may now be being considered. The Leader of the County Council, Alan Farnell has written to Justine Greening raising concerns at this, given that the public consultation has now ended and querying the impact of such changes on the original scheme .
Whilst Warwickshire County Council is encouraged that the Secretary of State has taken account of the concerns of MPs and the findings of the Transport Select Committee, it stands by its formal resolution to oppose HS2.
The County Council will consider it’s response to the Ministerial announcement on HS2 following a members meeting in January.