Transport Secretary Justine Greening, has today approved phase one of the high speed rail link between London and Birmingham which could be up and running by 2026. In her written statement, the Transport Secretary states HS2 will be the most "significant transport infrastructure project since the building of the motorways".
As has been widely reported, there is a wave of contention over the decision to give HS2 the green light. Key criticisms include that the scheme is economically flawed and not commercially viable and that the scheme’s environmental case is unsound.
It is expected that the government will now have to brace themselves for ministerial and backbencher resignations. They could also face challenges through the courts over the way the consultation on the scheme was handled, especially with many objectors feeling their concerns were not taken on board by the government.
However, despite today's statement, there is still much to be done before work on HS2 will commence. This includes the design work, environmental and route assessments and the passing of a hybrid bill which should provide the Government with the powers and procedures necessary to bring forward HS2.
We will keep you updated with any further developments on or challenges to HS2.