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McLoughlin affirms HS2 backing

 

Transport Secretary says the full ‘Y’ network will be built

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has affirmed the new government’s commitment to High Speed Two (HS2).

Speaking in Leeds following a visit to the new Kirkstall Forge railway station in West Yorkshire, which is currently under construction, Mr McLoughlin described the result of the general election as ‘a massive vote of confidence in HS2’, saying ‘the argument’s been won’.

He added that the full ‘Y’ network of HS2 would be built, including both Phase One from London to Birmingham and the second phase onwards to Leeds and Manchester, with construction starting ‘in just two years’. Stating his confidence in the project, Mr McLoughlin said ‘HS2 is now a manifesto commitment of a government with a Commons majority. It also has wide cross party support’.

The minister said the hybrid bill for Phase One of the project ‘is making good progress’, but that ‘the spotlight is spreading to Phase Two’. He stated that he would ‘prepare a dedicated Hybrid Bill in this Parliament’ in order to ‘deliver the benefits to the north as fast as possible’, including investigations into HS2 reaching Crewe at an earlier date, adding that Phase Two announcements would be made in the autumn.

Mr McLoughlin also affirmed that the government would look at ‘ways of using the HS2 line to introduce faster regional services’, including ‘the case for speeding up construction of the Sheffield to Leeds section’, as well as ‘moving forward with plans’ for HS3.

Speaking about being reappointed to his role at the Department for Transport, Mr McLoughlin said: ‘Before I took on this job in 2012, there had been seven Transport Secretaries in seven years. When you’re in charge of long-term infrastructure projects, such a high turnover can be destabilising, so I’m excited to be heading up the DfT in this new Parliament.’

Mr McLoughlin also confirmed plans to devolve power to the north, highlighting the role played by Transport for the North, which he described as ‘a genuine partnership’ to develop ‘a shared vision’ for public transport in the region.

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