Thank you for contacting me about HS2.
In regards to the most recent developments; the Prime Minister has asked former HS2 and Crossrail Chairman, Doug Oakervee, to carry out a 6 week review into the way in which money is being spent on HS2, to ensure no funding is wasted. This is in addition to the Prime Minister's proposal of a high speed link between Leeds and Manchester, helping to link the two cities with the aim of boosting the northern powerhouse. A £500 million investment has already been implemented as seen with the introduction of the brand new state of the art carriages for trains serving the Calder Valley. More on this is available here.
Britain’s railways require additional capacity, and the Government believes that HS2 represents the most effective way of both alleviating pressure on the current network and ensuring capacity growth. With destinations including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, and Crewe. Royal Assent has been granted for Phase One of HS2. This paves the way for a new railway line that will increase capacity on our rail network, connect the biggest cities, and generate jobs and economic growth.
Ensuring that the project strikes the right balance between the needs of affected communities and the environment, and the long-term needs of the country as a whole is essential. HS2 Ltd’s Sustainability Policy commits to the protection of the environment through seeking to avoid significant adverse effects on communities, businesses and the environment, including the prevention of pollution.
The policy also commits to minimising impacts where they occur, and delivering enhancements as far as reasonably practicable to attain no net loss to the natural environment. I am pleased that a green corridor is being created alongside the railway, including the planting of seven million new trees and shrubs along the Phase One route from London to the West Midlands.
A five-volume Environment Statement for phase 2a of HS2 (West Midlands to Crewe) has been produced following detailed assessments. It sets out proposals on how the environmental impact of constructing this stage of the line might be mitigated. As regards Phase 2b (Crewe to Manchester and Leeds), a consultation has taken place on the Working Draft Environment Statement. A summary of the responses has been published and this will further inform the development of the Phase 2b route and Environment Statement.
I am dedicated to working with all those who seek to improve the transport links for Calder Valley and the North and will judge all developments in that light. I will continue to monitor this issue closely and look forward to reading the results from the review.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP