HS2 set for government green light
The government is expected to give its backing to the HS2 rail project linking London to Birmingham and then Manchester and Leeds.
Prime minister Boris Johnson is due to make an announcement on the future of the high-speed rail line later today, according to the BBC.
HS2 is now expected to cost at least £88bn, with some estimates putting the final cost at £106bn. It is scheduled for completion in 2040 and has been the subject of an independent review led by former Crossrail chairman Douglas Oakervee amid concern over rising costs.
The first stage of the line, running from London Euston to Birmingham is expected to be completed by 2028-31, with stage two running to Manchester and Leeds due for 2035-40.
The news is likely to be welcomed by major contractors, many of which wrote to Johnson last month asking him to back the project, emphasising the impact it would have on jobs and investment in the Midlands and north of England.
The letter, from the heads of firms including Balfour Beatty, Kier and Sir Robert McAlpine, said HS2 would “not only reduce transport emissions, but assist in the development of new, green engineering and construction skills”.