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East Midlands Chamber News

HS2 'essential' say MPs

HS2The HS2 high-speed rail project is "essential" for the UK's future and the potential gains "significantly outweigh" any risks, MPs have said.

The Commons Transport Committee also said the estimated cost of up to £50bn had been exaggerated, leading opponents to think ministers were offering a "blank cheque".

And extending the link to the north of England should be speeded up, it added.

The first phase, from London to Birmingham, is due for completion in 2026, with a second Y-shaped section from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds due to be finished in 2032-33.

The committee said serious thought should be given to building the two phases at the same time.

It said incoming HS2 Ltd chairman Sir David Higgins should report to ministers by the end of next year "on options for speeding up HS2 so that trains run north of Birmingham on high-speed routes well before 2032-33".

The cost of the project in its entirety is estimated at £42.6bn, with £7.5bn needed for the high-speed trains. Of the £42.6bn, a total of £14.56bn is contingency.

To read what the BBC has reported on this story follow this link.