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Govt to spend £7m on High Speed Two plans

The Government is set to spend more than £7 million on plans for High Speed Two in the financial year 2009/10.

In January transport secretary Geoff Hoon announced the creation of a new company – High Speed Two, chaired by Sir David Rowlands – to help consider the case for new high speed rail services between London and Scotland.

Staff costs for the year will total £2.65 million, according to a question answered by the parliamentary under secretary of state for transport Paul Clark in the House of Commons last week.

Project costs and consultancy costs stand at £3.94 million, while board costs and facility costs total £209,226 and £175,393 respectively.

Initially the company was tasked with developing a proposal for an entirely new line between London and the West Midlands, which could link to Heathrow and Crossrail through a new international interchange station.

It will need to assess the likely environmental impact and business case of different routes, with work on the case for High Speed Two expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The Government will then assess the options, enabling them to choose a proposed route for development.