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Clegg reaffirms backing for HS2

Thu 27 Sep 2012

Nick Clegg has reiterated his backing for plans to build a high-speed rail network in England.

HS2 will see a high-speed rail connection built between London and Birmingham, which should be in place by 2026. This will be followed by additional connections to Leeds and Manchester that are expected to be completed by 2033.

Trains capable of travelling at up to 250mph will run on the Y-shaped network. This means that the time it takes to travel from London to Birmingham will be cut to 45 minutes - almost half the current time.

However, the scheme has attracted opposition in some parts of the country, including areas the line will pass through.

The deputy prime minister has therefore used this week's Liberal Democrat party conference in Brighton to restate his support for the plans.

Mr Clegg acknowledged the proposed infrastructure upgrades are "unpopular with some people".

However, he said the country has underinvested in radical infrastructure improvements for many years, as lots of areas still depend on lines created in Victorian times.

Mr Clegg praised the Victorians for being big and bold when it came to improving the transport network and said Britons need to be just as ruthless today.

Indeed, he said that even though they "shrugged aside public objections, they created the infrastructure for a modern society".

Patrick McLoughlin, who was appointed transport secretary in a cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, recently confirmed that the HS2 project is still firmly on the government's agenda.

Speaking during a meeting of the Transport Select Committee, he said the scheme is set to go ahead as planned and stated that details of the planned route in the north of England will be published in the next few months.

The project has been the subject of extensive public consultation, while impact assessments are being carried out to see what effects HS2 could have on places along the route, so they can be mitigated as much as possible.

For further information on any of the points raised in this article please contact our Transport and Infrastructure Team.

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