High Speed link given green light

Plans have been unveiled by the Transport secretary Justine Greening to build the first stage of the £32bn high-speed rail line linking London to the north.

The government is now set to start work in a Parliamentary Bill to clear the way for construction on the first phase as early as 2016.

Mace/Atkins, Turner & Townsend, CH2M Hill and Parsons Brinckerhoff have all been bidding for the key promoter role, with rumours suggesting that Balfour Beatty’s consultancy arm Parsons Brinckerhoff is favourite to secure the job.

The transport secretary also revealed more details of measures to mitigate the worse affects of the line, which will see journey times between London Birmingham cut to just 49 minutes. Around 22 miles of the line will be in tunnel or green tunnel with a further 56 miles partially or totally hidden in cutting.

The government has argued the benefits of the scheme, including the Y-shaped extension to Manchester and Leeds which will generate £44bn of benefits to the economy over 60 years. However the plans are facing delays by legal challenges. The hybrid bill process allows members of the public to send in petitions and could lead to protracted battles in Parliament.

About The Author