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Queen's Speech: HS2 extension to Crewe backed

Construction of part of the HS2 line north of Birmingham has edged a step closer after it was unveiled as one of the main bills in today’s Queen’s Speech.

The bill, which gives HS2 powers to build and operate a line from Birmingham to Crewe, was one of 21 pieces of legislation put forward in the government’s programme.

More than £3.5bn is to be spent on this phase of the line, with the construction work expected to be split into a handful of civils packages.

HS2 announced back in 2015 that firms which pre-qualified for phase one civils packages would automatically be shortlisted for the phase 2a lots.

In 2015, it was announced that the construction of the 2a part of the phase two line would be brought foward by six years, with the Birmingham to Crewe line scheduled to open in 2027.

The bill gives HS2 planning permission to deliver the scheme, set out the way regulation will apply for the railway and give powers so the client can acquire the land needed for the railway.

The main benefits of the bill were listed as ensuring cities in the North and in Scotland could enjoy economic benefits and reduced journey times, as well as adding capacity to the UK’s rail network and generating jobs.

Queen’s Speech as it happened:

12:10 Responses to the Queen’s Speech from construction’s great and good are coming into the CN inbox.

Ceca’s Marie-Claude Henning says ”government must continue with major infrastructure” and welcomes the decision to bring forward HS2 Phase 2 bill.

She says: “We welcome the announcement of a bill to deliver the next phase of HS2, but this is just one of many schemes that the UK must press ahead with to shore up the economy.

“In particular, we would like to hear more detail about the Government’s plans for Crossrail 2, which was conspicuous in its absence from the Conservative manifesto.

“This is just one of a range of schemes that we must now prioritise and bring forward to market to deliver post-Brexit growth.”

12:05 Any Conservative deal with DUP will come at a cost of £2bn. Reports suggest party asking for £1bn to be spent on NHS in Northern Ireland and £1bn on infrastructure projects.

On election day, CN broke down what projects the DUP might want money for:

12:00 On the topic of what will happen to UK’s relationship with European nuclear regulator, Euratom, after Brexit. Government to bring forward bill to establish a nuclear safeguards regime that will give Office of Nuclear Regulation responsibilities to meet international nuclear safeguards.

Here’s CN’s report on this in May:

11:54 Bill states: “Provide powers to build and operate next stage of HS2 from the end of phase of the route at Fradley Junction to the West Coast Main Line just south of Crewe…”

11:51 HS2 bill is brought forward to allow construction of the line from Birmingham to Crewe to proceed. 

11:50 Right, so that is the Queen’s speech done. Now to pick away at the details and see what bills are to be brought in and what impact this might have on the sector….

11:44 The Queen says legislation will be brought in to prioritise mental health in the NHS, and confirms a full public inquiry into Grenfell fire disaster.

11:41 High Speed 2 phase two gets mention with legislation to be brought in to ensure that lines from Birmingham to Crewe get built.

11:40 First mention for construction. “My government will ensure continued investment in infrastructure….”

11:36 Veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner kicks off proceedings with annual Queen’s Speech quip, “Get your skates on, the first race is on at 2:30”. Referring to Royal Ascot which is currently taking place in Berkshire.

11:35 So what can construction expect from today? Reports suggest new bills that could funnel money into transport projects and phase two of the HS2 line looks set to get governmental green light:

11:33 Hello, and welcome to Construction News’ live blog today on the Queen’s Speech. I’m CN’s infrastructure reporter Jack Simpson and I’m going to be taking you through and analysing all of the major construction takeaways….


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