The House of Lords yesterday approved the Bill for Phase 2a of HS2, the section from Lichfield across Staffordshire to Crewe at second reading, shortly before Parliament was prorogued.
Support for HS2 from their Lordships is most welcome at this time. It means that the Phase 2a bill can remain on track for Royal Assent at the end of this year (or early in 2020).
As Allan Cook, chair of HS2 Ltd has recently made clear, slippage with Phase 1 in effect means that – subject to obtaining Parliamentary Powers for Phase 2a – the two phases can by progressed in parallel.
One of the benefits of this is that it offers an answer (of sorts) to the ambition expressed by many to start building HS2 in the North. While that is not possible at this time for the full Phase 2b scheme, it should now be possible to undertake construction of Phases 1 and 2a together provided there are no delays to the Phase 2a Bill when it returns to the House of Commons. In other words, building HS2 can be started in earnest in the north (Crewe) at the same time as in the south (London).