HS2: Phase two plans to be outlined

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Published: Saturday 25th October 2014 by The News Editor

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The city of Stoke-on-Trent is expected to miss out when the head of the £50 billion HS2 project outlines plans for phase two of the high-speed rail scheme next week.

Recommendations on Monday from HS2 Ltd chairman Sir David Higgins are expected to include plans for a hub station at Crewe in Cheshire as part of the second stage of the scheme.

Civic leaders in Stoke have already expressed disappointment at what they expect will be a decision that rules out the Potteries city as a possible HS2 stop.

The first phase of HS2, due to be completed by 2026, will see a new high-speed line built from Euston in west London through Tory heartlands to Birmingham.

The second phase, on which Sir David is reporting on Monday, envisages a Y-shaped line running north from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds.

Sir David is also expected to outline plans for improving rail links for northern cities as part of a so-called HS3 which is much favoured by Chancellor George Osborne.

HS2 is strongly supported by the Government but bitterly opposed by some residents and councils along the line of the phase one route.

Environmentalists are also concerned about the project’s impact on the countryside.

The Woodland Trust said 35 ancient woods faced significant loss or damage from phase two of the project.

Woodland Trust HS2 campaigner Oliver Newham said: “We will continue to press the Government and HS2 Ltd to choose a route that does not destroy rare and irreplaceable ancient woodland habitat.”

Martin Abrams, public transport campaigner for the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “The Chancellor needs to make sure progress with high-speed rail goes hand in hand with upgrading the rest of the north’s rail network.”

Dr Adam Marshall, executive director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “HS2 will be vital for the UK if it is to have a world-class transport infrastructure in the years to come.

“Extending the line from Birmingham to Manchester, Leeds and beyond is essential.”

Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said: “Whatever happens on Monday, it will be clear that the original plans for HS2 weren’t thought through properly. Changing the mess that is phase two doesn’t change the fact that phase one is still a complete mess, as is the entire concept of HS2.”

Published: Saturday 25th October 2014 by The News Editor

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