HS2 in Hansard 28/01/2016

The Secretary of State was asked—
High Speed 2
1. David Mowat (Warrington South) (Con): What
progress has been made on finalising the route for
phase 2 of High Speed 2. [903309]
The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Patrick
McLoughlin): May I associatemyself with your remarks,
Mr Speaker, to both members of staff who are retiring
and wish them well in their retirement? I am sure they
would be welcome to come back and observe us in a
different role, if they so wished.
InNovember last year I confirmed plans for accelerating
the construction of phase 2 from the west midlands to
Crewe so that it opens in 2027, six years earlier than
planned. We are developing our plans for the rest of
phase 2 and I intend to make decisions on the rest of the
route by the autumn at the latest.
David Mowat: The Secretary of State will be aware
that HS2 Ltd is currently evaluating a proposal to
extend the line north of Manchester toWigan. The cost
of that is around £1 billion but as yet no incremental
business or economic case has been produced. Will my
right hon. Friend undertake that, before a decision is
taken to extend the line north of Manchester, a business
case will be laid before this House so that it can be
MrMcLoughlin:Whenwe come forwardwith proposals,
they will receive the same scrutiny as those for the
earlier part of the line. I believe that high-speed rail is
essential for the long-termeconomic future of the United
Kingdom. It gives us the increased capacity that we so
desperately need on our railways, and that is a whole
other scheme.
Mrs Louise Ellman (Liverpool, Riverside) (Lab/Co-op):
Can the Secretary of State tell us how planning the
route for HS2 will be linked with planned improvements
for east-west rail travel—for example, Liverpool to Hull?
Mr McLoughlin: The hon. Lady, as Chairman of the
Select Committee, is absolutely right that that is part of
what needs to be done. It is part of what is being
addressed by David Higgins as chairman of HS2 in his
designs for the routes. Also, we wait to see what the
National Infrastructure Commission led by LordAdonis
comes out with on the east-west link on HS3.
Fiona Bruce (Congleton) (Con):Will the Secretary of
State give close consideration to how Middlewich railway
station can be reopened to passengers? That would
facilitate much increased use of the rail line right into
Manchester fromCrewe and relieve considerable congestion
on the M6, which has the support not only of local
residents, but of a number of surrounding Members of
Mr McLoughlin: I am not sure that comes into the
HS2 line route development, but I am more than happy
to discuss these matters with my hon. Friend, as is the
rail Minister, the Under-Secretary of State for Transport,
my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Claire Perry).
One of the reasons for developing a high-speed rail link
is that we need to find a lot more capacity on the
existing rail network, and one of the ways we do that is
by providing the extra capacity that HS2 will give.
Graham Jones (Hyndburn) (Lab): I share the concerns
of the hon. Member forWarrington South (DavidMowat).
Is not it poor that there are no plans for any HS2 rail
service north of Manchester, particularly to Wigan?
The 530,000 people in east Lancashire will be completely
disconnected from phase 2 of HS2. Will the Secretary
of State look at that?
Mr McLoughlin: The simple fact is that from day one
I see HS2 serving areas wider than just those in which it
is built. When we start the service from Birmingham, it
will be possible to link with conventional rail routes,
rather as high-speed trains currently run from St Pancras
to Ashford and then beyond. I hope that the northern
parts of the United Kingdom will be served by HS2
Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford) (Con):When the plans were
put forward in November, they included none of the
proposals for mitigation in my constituency that I and
my constituents had put forward. Will my right hon.
Friend give me an assurance that those proposals will
continue to be looked at throughout the passage of the
Mr McLoughlin: Indeed. When we bring forward the
Bill, my hon. Friend and his constituents will have every
opportunity to make their case, including throughout
its consideration in Committee.
393 28 JANUARY 2016 394
Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch) (Lab/
This is one of the largest and most expensive
Government projects on the table. Just before Christmas
the Public Accounts Committee heard fromthe Secretary
of State’s permanent secretary about the evaluation of
High Speed 1, which was two years late and was therefore
not included in the evaluation for the early stages of
High Speed 2. How can he convince us that he really has
a grip on the costs of this project and that the House
will have proper, full scrutiny of that challenge?
Mr McLoughlin: The hon. Lady represents a London
constituency and will therefore get the benefit of Crossrail,
which is a very expensive scheme—the expense is not
dissimilar to that of the first part of phase 2 of HS2.We
are evaluating the project very carefully indeed, and we
look very closely at anything the Public Accounts
Committee tells us—of course, it always tells us in
hindsight; never in advance.
Mr David Nuttall (Bury North) (Con): If the Wigan
spur proceeds, does that mean that when it comes to
extending the HS2 line up to Scotland, it will go up the
west coast, rather than the east coast, thereby missing
out the north-east and Newcastle?
Mr McLoughlin: No, I verymuchwant to see Newcastle
served. Those decisions are yet to be taken in full, but
there is no reason why Newcastle should not be served
on the east side of the HS2 spur.
Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South) (Lab): We
welcome the decision to accelerate HS2’s construction
to Crewe. However, the whole of phase 2 is crucial for
the midlands and the north.We were told thatMinisters
would confirm the route by the end of 2014, but that
target has now slipped by at least two years, prolonging
blight for residents, creating uncertainty and scaring off
investment. Does the Secretary of State agree that there
must be no doubt about the Government’s commitment
to phase 2? Does he further agree that were a Chancellor
with a Cheshire constituency to terminate the route
south of Manchester, that would be an abject betrayal
of the northern powerhouse?
Mr McLoughlin: I agree with the first part of the hon.
Lady’s question, but I have had no stronger support in
promoting this scheme from any member of the
Government than I have had from the Chancellor of
the Exchequer, even though it affects his constituency.
He has been very clear about the benefits it will bring
not only to the north, but to the whole of the United
Kingdom. To intimate that he is somehow against the
scheme is wholly wrong. I said that I hoped to have the
full scheme announced by the end of this year, but I left
a bit of leeway in order to make announcements sooner
if I possibly can, to alleviate the blight of certain areas
affected, which might not be affected under the proposals
now being worked on.
Transport Fuels: Renewable Sources
3. Graham Stuart (Beverley and Holderness) (Con):
What recent assessment his Department has made of
when the UK will meet its target in the EU renewable
energy directive of 10% of its transport fuels coming
from renewable sources. [903311]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport
(Mr Robert Goodwill):
We are determined to achieve the
target of 10% biofuel inclusion by 2020 and are working
with industry and others to that end.
Graham Stuart: There has been a £400 million investment
in the Vivergo Fuels plant inmy constituency, supporting
4,000 jobs. Does he agree that the most cost-effective
way of meeting our transport emissions targets is to
increase the share of bioethanol in our petrol?
Mr Goodwill: I suppose I should declare an interest,
as 100 tonnes of my wheat went to that plant just before
Christmas to produce bioethanol. It is important that
we work with not only the plant in my hon. Friend’s
constituency, but the one on Teesside to ensure that the
industry has a sustainable future. We must also look
carefully at other knock-on effects that indirect land use
change might have, as the decisions we make in Europe
can affect habitats in south America or the far east, for
Mr Clive Betts (Sheffield South East) (Lab): Does the
Minister agree that it is absolutely essential that we get
on with developing alternative fuels of a variety of
kinds to power our vehicles? Without that, the levels of
nitrous dioxide are causing permanent health damage
to many people in this country. At Tinsley, the local
authority in Sheffield has decided to move a school
away from the motorway because of the levels of NO2,
but residents are still living there. The city council is
responsible for air quality to some degree, but in the end
it is down to Government to deal with problems such as
air pollution from the motorway. When are they going
to act on this?
Mr Goodwill: In the wake of the Volkswagen scandal,
the Government are acting to ensure that diesel-powered
vehicles are meeting their obligations, but our push
towards electric vehicles and other novel-fuel vehicles
also has a part to play. The Government are determined
to improve air quality.
Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): I am glad that
my hon. Friend has mentioned electric vehicles, because
Continental, which is a major player in research and
development for electric car drivetrains, making them
for many different manufacturers, is based in my
constituency.What is the Department doing to encourage
the use and development of electric cars?
Mr Goodwill: The plug-in car grants have been very
successful, and we have seen an increase in the take-up
of electric cars. Indeed, I was recently inMilton Keynes
opening a facility there to test the drivetrains and
motors in electric cars. The UK is taking a lead in this
technology, which is being developed here. The Nissan
Leaf is amajor product produced in theUKto contribute
to this market.
Drew Hendry (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and
Strathspey) (SNP):
On behalf of SNP Members, I add
my thanks and best wishes to the departing staff members
and wish them a happy retirement.
Good work needs to be done on new fuels, but there
is a glaring omission within the Government’s work just
now. Regardless of the current fuel position, there is a
need to plan ahead. The Minister will know that Oslo
395 Oral Answers 28 JANUARY 2016 Oral Answers 396
airport has become the world’s first airport to offer
sustainable jet biofuel to all airlines, and that Lufthansa
Group, SAS and KLM have already signed agreements
to buy it. Here, meanwhile, the aviation industry has
raised concerns that the industry’s sustainable aviation
agenda is not being supported by Government.Will the
Minister reconsider his position and include aviation in
the renewable transport fuels obligation?
Mr Goodwill: In terms of the sustainability of aviation,
this is an important year at the International Civil
Aviation Organisation, where we should get, I hope,
agreement on a market-based mechanism to combat the
issue of carbon dioxide.Within the industry, both Virgin
and British Airways are working on alternative fuels
produced from waste products, which will help with the
sustainability of aviation.
Drew Hendry: I do not think that anybody, especially
in the aviation industry, is persuaded by the tortured
explanations that we get on this. The aviation industry
tells me that theUKGovernment are in policy paralysis—
they are not dealing with biofuel development and they
are not dealing with airport expansion.Will theMinister
commit to action on a renewable transport fuels obligation
for aviation?
Mr Goodwill: That is not the impression I get when I
meet representatives of the aviation industry. Indeed,
the improvement of sustainable aviation is an industry-led
initiative. I repeat that this is a very important year for
the world in terms of tackling CO2 emissions from
aviation.We allwant to achieve a globally based mechanism,
and I am determined to ensure that we play our part in
negotiating it.
Richard Burden (Birmingham, Northfield) (Lab): I
really do need to press the Minister a bit further on this.
Recently, BritishAirways postponed its GreenSky project
to establish a facility to produce advanced biofuels for
aviation here in the UK. While the issues involved in
that are no doubt complex, will the Minister listen to
the increasingly widespreadwarnings from those involved
in aviation that inaction and lack of clear policy direction
from the Government are holding back the development
and use of renewable fuels in aviation, thereby missing
opportunities to boost jobs and skills in these technologies
and making it more difficult to meet our obligations on
carbon and harmful emissions?
Mr Goodwill: I can understand the hon. Gentleman’s
frustration in wanting to make more progress, but I
have to say that there is more than one way of killing a
cat. Yes, alternative fuels may have an important role
to play, but more importantly—[Interruption.] More
importantly, a market-based mechanism will allow other
types of technology to be developed which can then be
used to offset the emissions from aviation, which will
always be dependent on liquid fuels. [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker: We are grateful to the Minister, who I
fear is being accused of what might be called metaphorical
High-speed Rail Network
4. Marion Fellows (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP):

What recent discussions he has had with Ministers in
the Scottish Government on development of the
high-speed rail network. [903312]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport
(Mr Robert Goodwill):
I shared the platform with the
Scottish Minister, Keith Brown, at the HS2 supply
chain conference on 5 November in Edinburgh. We
discussed the benefits that Scotland will get from HS2.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has arranged
to meet Keith next week.
Marion Fellows: The Minister will recall that he was
previously asked by my hon. Friend the Member for
Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Alan Brown) about the
potential for increased journey times north of Crewe to
Scotland under the current proposals for HS2. At the
time, he suggested that upgrades on the line were already
underway. Therefore, will he now commit to providing
the Scottish Government with a definitive timetable for
those upgrades?
Mr Goodwill: I can tell the hon. Lady that HS2 will
deliver increased benefits to Scotland. From day one,
journey times from Glasgow will be reduced from four
hours 31 minutes to three hours 56 minutes. Indeed, the
full Y network will benefit Scotland to the tune of
£3 billion. Interestingly, she does not mention Nicola
Sturgeon’s own bullet train, the Glasgow-Edinburgh
scheme, which she announced as infrastructureMinister
in 2012. It appears that Scotland’s First Minister has
now given her bullet train the bullet.