While yesterday the emphasis from the Government was the apparent speeding up of Phase 2A of HS2, one thing they minimised was the increasing delays to the rest of Phase 2.
Let’s face it, the announcement on the whole of HS2 route 2 was supposed to have been Autumn 2014: instead, on the last day of Autumn 2015, it was officially confirmed that for the majority of the Phase 2 route, the decision has not been made yet. The decision on the route will not be made until Autumn 2016 (two years late), with any Hybrid Bill even later, and possibly not even during this Parliament, which finishes in 2020.
What’s more In fact a careful reading of the command paper (download from the Government’s website), implies that there may be further splits in the Hybrid Bill.
With separate sections on the Eastern leg of HS2 and the Western leg, each of which finishes with nearly identical, but subtly differing wording:
p 89 “8.30 We will continue to develop plans for the Eastern Leg which will deliver connectivity and growth for communities along the line of the route and beyond. We will make a route decision in autumn 2016 with a view to depositing a Bill in this Parliament and beginning construction around 2026.”
p 96 “9.26 We will continue to develop plans for the Western Leg which will release capacity, deliver connectivity and growth for communities along the line of the route and beyond. We intend to make a route decision in autumn 2016 with a view to depositing a hybrid Bill in this Parliament and beginning construction in 2026.”
Dare we suggest that having separated out one part of Phase 2 for its own Hybrid Bill, it is increasingly likely that there will be two, or more bills for the rest of Phase 2…
As way as answering Urgent Questions on HS2 yesterday in the House of Commons, later this afternoon (Tuesday), there will be a debate on Addition Provisions 5 of the Phase 1 Hybrid Bill.