Posted 23rd September 2010 | 28 Comments
Route of HS2 is set to change, Hammond reveals
Anti-HS2 feeling is running high in the affected areas
THE controversial route of HS2 through Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire may be changed, according to the transport secretary Philip Hammond. He has been in Buckinghamshire to meet some of the increasingly vocal objectors for himself.
Britain’s first domestic High Speed line, as currently planned, would cut a swathe through the Chilterns, which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Local people have called for much of this section to be built in tunnel, which would add greatly to the cost.
Mr Hammond went to Amersham on 22 September to hear some of the objections at first hand.
Later, he revealed that the plans are still very much in the melting pot.
He told the Bucks Free Press that: “It will definitely be different. We’ve already announced some changes, although these are relatively minor. We will come to a decision about the route we prefer and we will put that forward in the New Year.”
Meanwhile, further north, the debate continues about whether the High Speed network should be built as an S-formation -- going to Manchester first and then looping across the Pennines to Leeds -- or as a Y, with separate lines serving the north west and Yorkshire from a junction north of Birmingham.
A new report from Arup claims that the Y-shaped option would generate economic benefits in Yorkshire worth more than £60bn.
Arup has identified ‘productivity benefits’ of £2.3bn, including £750m and £420m for the Leeds and Sheffield regions, largely through support the new line would give to the regions’ financial and business services sectors.
The Y-shaped network had been the preferred option of the previous Labour government, but the Coalition has commissioned further research on the single S-shaped line.
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