This is a copy of a document that stated a policy of the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government. The previous URL of this page was https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/developing-a-new-high-speed-rail-network. Current policies can be found at the GOV.UK policies list.

Issue

Our railways are increasingly busy. Demand for long distance rail travel has doubled in the past 15 years, and Britain’s population is forecast to increase by 10 million over the next 25 years.

Good transport links make our economy stronger and our lives easier. Congested transport networks are unreliable and constrain travel opportunities, restricting growth.

We plan to invest more than £70 billion in all forms of transport by 2021. High Speed 2 (HS2) is part of this, accounting for £16 billion of this investment.

Actions

We are developing HS2 to provide Britain’s railways with new capacity, better connectivity and quicker journeys.

HS2 will link 8 of Britain’s 10 largest cities, serving 1 in 5 of the UK population. It will allow more passengers to use trains and more freight operators to use rail rather than road.

The new railway will greatly increase capacity. It will treble the number of seats on trains into Euston and almost double the number of trains per hour on the West Coast Main Line.

It will free up capacity on existing rail lines for more commuter, rural and freight train services, and mean fewer cars and lorries on our roads, cutting congestion and carbon.

The new railway will be an engine for economic growth. HS2 will generate jobs and help rebalance the economy between north and south.

We will build HS2 in 2 phases. The first phase will link London Euston with a new station at Birmingham Curzon Street and will include a station at Old Oak Common in west London and another near Birmingham Airport. For the second phase the route will divide into 2 lines, one to Manchester Piccadilly via Crewe and Manchester Airport and the other to Leeds via the East Midlands and Sheffield Meadowhall.

See an overview of the proposed HS2 route.

HS2 will be integrated with the existing national railway network and HS2 trains will be compatible with existing railway lines, so that cities and towns beyond the new network – such as Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, York, Preston, Warrington, Lancaster, Carlisle, Durham and Darlington - will also benefit from direct HS2 services.

Construction along the line is due to start in 2017 and be completed by 2025. The first train services will run between London and Birmingham from 2026.

We recognise that a scheme on the scale of HS2 will have impacts on the local environment and communities and we’re committed to minimising these impacts and treating those affected fairly.

Background

HS1

High Speed 1 (HS1) is the railway between St Pancras in London and the Channel Tunnel and connecting the UK with international high speed routes. The line opened in full on 14 November 2007. In summer 2009 the Secretary of State for Transport entered into a long-term concession with HS1 Ltd to manage and operate the HS1 railway between London and the Channel Tunnel:

HS2

We announced the go ahead for the HS2 project in January 2012, after a wide-ranging consultation.

Following the consultation, we identified the route between London and Birmingham for Phase One of HS2 and altered it to reduce the impact on local communities and the environment. This included, for example, much more tunneling in the Chilterns and in Ruislip so that more than half of the 140 kilometre route will be in tunnels or cuttings.

Who we’ve consulted

We decided to go ahead with plans to build a high speed rail line after an extensive consultation with individuals, businesses and organisations across the UK in 2011.

The consultation included material about the economic case for HS2.

We also ran a consultation on an ‘exceptional hardship scheme’ in 2010 for home owners who have an urgent need to sell their property, but because of HS2 Phase One either cannot do so, or can only do so at a substantial discount.

In October 2012, we published consultations on Safeguarding Phase One of the HS2 route and on property and compensation for homeowners and businesses who will be affected by Phase One of HS2.

In January 2013 we ran a consultation on an exceptional hardship scheme for home owners along the HS2 Phase Two line of route.

In May 2013 a consultation was launched about design refinements for HS2 Phase One and a draft environmental statement.

In July 2013 we launched a consultation about the proposed route and sustainability impacts of HS2 Phase Two.

In September 2013, new proposals setting out compensation for residents affected by the first phase of HS2, were outlined in a consultation.

In November 2013 we published an updated environmental statement alongside the HS2 Phase One hybrid Bill. An Additional Provision environmental statement was published in September 2014 which outlined changes being made to part of that bill.

In July 2014 we launched the HS2 property consultation 2014. This sought views on the alternative cash offer and the home owner payment schemes to help property owners affected by Phase One of HS2.

Bills and legislation

It was announced in the 2013 Queen’s speech that legislation will be introduced to enable the building of the HS2 railway line.

The High Speed Rail (Preparation) Act will provide parliamentary authority for essential expenditure to pursue the project to build a high speed rail network from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds to the ambitious timetable that has been proposed.

The High Speed Two hybrid Bill will seek the necessary legal powers to enable the construction and operation of the first phase of HS2 railway between London and the West Midlands.

On becoming an act, the High Speed Two hybrid Bill would give the government deemed planning permission to deliver the scheme, including the powers to acquire the necessary land and undertake the works required.

Roles of DfT and HS2 Ltd

HS2 is being developed by the Department for Transport (DfT) and High Speed Two Limited (HS2 Ltd). HS2 Ltd performs both a delivery and advisory role in the development of the high speed rail network. This was set out in the ‘HS2 development agreement’ between the Secretary of State for Transport and HS2 Ltd. A document outlining the broad framework within which HS2 Ltd must operate was published in December 2014.

Appendix 1: HS2 route

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

HS2 Phase One: London to Birmingham

The first phase of HS2 will take the railway from London to Birmingham. Phase One will link London Euston with a new station at Birmingham Curzon Street and will include a station at Old Oak Common in west London and another near Birmingham Airport.

More than half the HS2 Phase One route will be in tunnels or deep cuttings, which reduces the impact of the line on the local environment. But such a major project will always affect some areas.

The government has consulted on a draft environmental statement and design refinements for HS2 Phase One. We are consulting on a package of compensation for residents affected by Phase One, and have issued safeguarding directions for the route. Safeguarding directions make sure that no developments can take place that would conflict with the planned route. They also allow property owners along the Phase One route to ask the government to buy their property from them and to receive compensation.

HS2 Phase Two: Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester

Phase Two of HS2 will see the railway divide into 2 lines, one to Manchester Piccadilly via Crewe and Manchester Airport and the other to Leeds via the East Midlands and Sheffield Meadowhall. The initial preferences for the route, stations and depots for Phase Two have been published for consultation.

Have your say on the proposed route and sustainability impacts of HS2 Phase Two.

These documents show the route and technical specifications for Phase Two of the HS2 route from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester:

Appendix 2: reducing the impact of HS2 on the local environment and communities

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

The government fully recognises that a scheme on the scale of HS2 will have impacts on the local environment and communities and we are committed to minimising these impacts and treating those affected fairly.

We’ve listened to the views of local people and have made refinements to the route where possible and we are also working with environmental groups as we design the railway.

We will minimise the local environmental impact of the new railway wherever possible by using tunnels, deep cuttings and existing transport corridors where we can. We will also use noise barriers, landscaping and other measures to help reduce the visual and noise impacts of the scheme.

Where people are affected by HS2, we are committed to compensating them fairly. We will go above and beyond what is required by law by introducing discretionary assistance that helps more people and reflects the unique nature of the HS2 project.

We’ve already introduced temporary discretionary ‘exceptional hardship schemes’ for the early stages of work in both Phase One and Phase Two of HS2:

These are designed to assist property owners whose properties are on or in close proximity to the HS2 route, and who urgently need to sell their properties before long term measures are put in place.

On 9 April 2014 we outlined the measures we plan to take to compensate residents affected by the first phase of HS2. We believe these schemes will make a big a difference for local residents on the Phase One route.

Appendix 3: HS2 and economic growth

This was a supporting detail page of the main policy document.

HS2 is more than a transport scheme; the new railway will be an engine for growth.

HS2 will generate jobs, help rebalance the economy between north and south, and provide a platform for the country’s future prosperity. It’s a statement about the UK’s ambition to be a world-class economy in the 21st century.

HS2 will connect people and businesses, enhancing productivity and commercial activity. It will act as a catalyst for city centre regeneration and major development schemes.

Current estimates predict that HS2 will generate benefits of at least £60 billion for the UK. But we expect that when the long term effect on the wider economy is taken into account the figure will be much higher.

The strategic and economic case for HS2 is strong. We have set out it here:

You can read more about the strategic case for HS2 and the economic benefits of HS2.