HS2 in Hansard 10/03/2016

High Speed 2
12.MrSteveBaker(Wycombe) (Con):When construction
of High Speed 2 is planned to begin. [904027]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport
(Mr Robert Goodwill): A great deal of work has already
been completed, and actual construction will start next
Mr Baker: Tempted as I am to propose that the
Government build HS2 sometime in the Parliament
after next, when it will be seen for the white elephant
that it is, could the Minister reassure me that there is
time enough to deal with all the environmental impacts
of HS2, such as the construction impact on the historic
village of West Wycombe in my constituency?
Mr Goodwill: My hon. Friend did promise me an
impish supplementary question and Iwas not disappointed.
The fact is that we have promised that there will be no
net environmental loss during the construction. Indeed,
we plan to plant 2 million trees as part of the phase 1
construction. I think it will be a project that we can be
proud of and one that communities up and down the
country will value as part of our economic plans.
Mr Clive Betts (Sheffield South East) (Lab): I rather
like elephants, white or otherwise. Let us look at the
building of phase 2 of HS2. The Secretary of State has
said in the past that serious consideration would be
given to the possibility of beginning construction on
the northern part of phase 2 between Sheffield and
Leeds in parallel with work on the southern part of that
leg. How much serious consideration has been given to
that, and is there a possibility thatwork between Sheffield
and Leeds could begin before the very end of the
Mr Goodwill: It is important that we prioritise the
Birmingham route, because that is where the congestion
is and where the real benefits are. Let us not forget that
those trains will run through to serve stations in the
north and in Scotland from day one. It is very important
that we look at how we can deliver that. Indeed, some of
the investment at the station locations in the north can
go ahead even before the trains reach those locations.