HS2 in Hansard 17/03/2014

TRANSPORT

Higgins Review

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Patrick

McLoughlin): Sir David Higgins has today published

proposals to build HS2 better and bring the benefits to

the north sooner.

The Government strongly support

this ambition and welcome his report. HS2 is vital for

the economic health of this country and our international competitiveness.

It was in this context that I asked Sir David Higgins,

when he became chair of HS2 Ltd, to undertake a

review onmaximising the benefits of HS2 and managing

costs. Given his experience on delivering the Olympics,

there was no one better equipped for the role.

Sir David has carried out a robust and rigorous

review of the cost estimates for constructing phase 1

and confirmed they are right. He proposes to use any

savings to protect the contingency at this early stage in

the parliamentary process and the project as a whole.

The Government support that.

Sir David’s report also proposes to deliver benefits,

particularly benefits to the midlands and the north,

more quickly. The report sets out a clear proposal to

accelerate construction so that the Crewe section of

phase 2 would be completed by 2027, not 2033, and to

build a new integrated hub station at Crewe. Therefore,

I am commissioning HS2 Ltd and Network Rail to

undertake work to allow both these proposals to be

considered in detail as part of my consideration of the

public consultation responses to phase 2.

Sir David also makes recommendations about

connectivity in the midlands and the north. He says the

key to improving this is to integrate decision making on

HS2withNetworkRail’s decision making for improvements

to the existing network during control period six (2019-

2024). I am, therefore, commissioning HS2 Ltd and

Network Rail to make recommendations before our

response to the phase 2 consultation.

Our prioritymust be to get the benefits to the midlands

and the north as soon as possible. Our proposals must

stand the test of time and wemust put our money where

it will do the most good. Sir David is clear that he does

not think the existing proposals for the HS2/HS1 link

meet those tests. His report concludes that the link

proposed in the High SpeedRail (London-West Midlands)

Bill has not secured a consensus. The link requires too

many compromises in terms of impacts on freight,

passengers and the community in Camden. I, therefore,

intend to take the necessary steps to remove the link

from the Bill and withdraw the safeguarding of this

section of the route as soon as possible. I will also

commission a study into ways to improve connections

to the continent that could be implemented once the

initial stages of HS2 are complete.

I also agree with the report that more can be made of

Euston station. It is a significant opportunity to maximise

the economic potential of the line and regenerate a site

that has been neglected. It is also a significant opportunity

to generate private sector investment that can reduce

the overall burden on the taxpayer. I will, therefore, ask

HS2Ltd and NetworkRail to develop more comprehensive

proposals for the redevelopment of Euston, working

with the rail industry and the local community. This

work should include proposals for the Euston Arch

which should never have been knocked down and which

I would like to see rebuilt.

HS2 is a project that will be built over many Parliaments

and will serve people for many generations. We must

design it carefully and build it correctly. The Government

are keen to rise to the challenge and we hope that hon.

Members on all sides of the House will do the same.

Copies of Sir David’s report have been placed in the

Libraries of both Houses.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for

Transport (1) how many representations were received

in response to the Environmental Statement on (a) the

High Speed 2 project and (b) the High Speed 2/High

Speed 1 link project; [191365]

(2) how many representations from Londoners were

received in response to the Environmental Statement

on (a) the High Speed 2 project and (b) the High

Speed 2/High Speed 1 link project; [191366]

(3) how many representations were received in

response to the Environmental Statement on (a) the

High Speed 2 project and (b) the High Speed 2/High

Speed 1 link project in each week of the consultation.

[191367]

Mr Goodwill: Following the deposit of the High
SpeedRail (London-West Midlands) Bill on 25November

2013, as required by Standing Orders, a consultation on

the Environmental Statement was held. In response to

this consultation 21,833 responses were received.

The responses are not being analysed by the Department

for Transport but have been passed to an independent

assessor, appointed by parliamentary authorities, who

will summarise the issues raised in them and provide a

report directly to Parliament by 7 April.

As a result the Department for Transport does not

hold accurate information on how many responses were

received from Londoners, or in relation to the HS1

Link, including figures for how many responses were

received each week of the consultation.

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