HS2 Paving Act receives Royal Assent as Government prepares to introduce bill that would authorise £43bn line

Patrick McLoughlin
Patrick McLoughlin

The HS2 Paving Act received Royal Assent today following its passage through Parliament with cross-party support.

The act, widely criticised as a ‘blank cheque bill’, frees up cash for preparatory work for the £43 billion line, such as construction design and compensation payments.

HS2

HS2

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin described it as ‘a major milestone in the HS2 project’.

Mr McLoughlin said: “The new north-south railway needs cross party backing, so I am very pleased that MPs representing constituencies across the country and peers from all three main parties have again given a clear signal of support.

“Receiving Royal Assent for this act on schedule provides the public and businesses further reassurance of our determination to drive forward and deliver HS2 as quickly as possible.”

The HS2 Hybrid Bill will be introduced into Parliament for its first reading on Monday.

It is this bill that will ultimately give the Government powers to construct and operate the railway, which would cut through Aylesbury Vale.

Campaigners are planning to descend on Parliament on Monday ahead of the first reading.

Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said: “With the widespread criticism of HS2 from independent bodies, it is quite depressing that MPs and Lords speaking for the project recently are so ill-informed and unwilling to listen to the exceptionally sound arguments which make it clear HS2 should not go ahead.

“On Monday, people from up and down the HS2 route will descend onto Parliament, not to say they don’t want HS2 to come near their homes, but to say that they have studied the plans and justifications for HS2 and that it should be scrapped completely.

“It is sad that people in affected communities know more about HS2 than the majority of Parliamentarians know more about what HS2 means, and we hope to change that.”