Government approves HS2

The government has announced that the HS2 rail project will go ahead, after an extensive review, boosting the regeneration of Old Oak.
The line, which will link from London to Birmingham, significantly increasing capacity on a highly congested route, will retain its stop at Old Oak. In fact, the Oakervee Review suggests that Old Oak could temporarily be the London terminus, while alterations at Euston are completed.
The Review recommends that the project should continue with the section from Old Oak Common to Euston, as Euston station is “an important part of realising the benefits of HS2”. It estimates revenues and transport user benefits could be £30bn less without Euston. However, it also concludes the design for the new Euston Station is “unsatisfactory”, and suggests that Old Oak Common should act as the temporary London terminus for HS2 services until Euston station is complete. “Time taken to get Euston right should not delay the start of HS2 services”, says the report.
It concludes that both Old Oak Common (pictured) and Euston stations are important to the project. The certainty that this will deliver will be important to the regeneration around Old Oak, and could deliver a new impetus to the project.
In a statement to Parliament the Prime Minister set out that after careful consideration of the independent Oakervee review, the decision has been taken to proceed with HS2.
Douglas Oakervee’s independent review into HS2 has today been published in full. After thorough analysis of the benefits and impacts of the project, work on Phase 1 (the route between London and Birmingham) is set to start in April. Government will revive the legislation to deliver Phase 2a (connecting Birmingham to Crewe) as soon as possible so that preparation works can move forward.
The Prime Minister told Parliament that he is committed to Phase 2b of the project, extending high-speed rail from the West Midlands to the North, but will draw up an integrated plan for rail in the North, informed by an assessment from the National Infrastructure Commission.
The PM also said he would appoint a dedicated minister with specific oversight and accountability for HS2.
Douglas Oakervee, Chair of the independently-led review into HS2, said: “The Review’s Report is a comprehensive appraisal of a challenging project. I believe the recommendations help offer it a way forward, a means of increasing scrutiny and oversight, protecting the interests of passengers and taxpayers, and rebuilding confidence in an important piece of critical national infrastructure which will do much to rebalance the economy. I am delighted that a decision on the project has been made, and it is now the job of the government to take this ambitious project forward.”
Andrew Dakers, CEO of West London Business, said: ““The backing of HS2 from the new Government is a huge boost for the whole country, but also very exciting news for West London as Old Oak Common will be a critical hub where HS2 meets the Elizabeth line (Crossrail).  HS2 will increase capacity on the north-south rail network and we hope will be powered by zero carbon green electricity assisting in the UK’s contribution to tackling climate change.  We look forward to working with HS2, the Old Oak & Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC), the construction supply chain and local authority partners to ensure that the local benefits are maximised.”
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