The route approved by Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, has some changes from the one suggested prior to the consultation. In particular, there is a new 2.75 mile tunnelled section from west of Northolt to West Ruislip, and the interchange at Old Oak is explicitly marked on the map, alongside a new Great Western Line station.
There is also a longer, continuous tunnel from Little Missenden to inside the M25 through the Chilterns.
Ms Greening (pictured) also announced a package of measures to reinforce confidence in properties above tunnels. Homeowners will be offered before and after surveys, a thorough assessment of the impact of similar tunnels, an explanation of the measures that will be taken to prevent perceptible vibration impacts, financial compensation for the compulsory purchase of subsoil, and a legally binding promise that HS2 will be permanently responsible for resolving any related settlement or subsidence issues.
The Transport Secretary said the HS2 “Y” network which she has approved will provide direct, high capacity, high speed links between London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, with intermediate stations in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire. There will also be a direct link to Heathrow Airport.
HS2 will be built in two phases. The line from London to the West Midlands and the connection to HS1 are expected to open in 2026, followed, in 2032-33, by the onward legs to Manchester and Leeds and the connection to Heathrow.
The capital cost at 2011 prices of building the complete Y network is £32.7 billion. At present values, say the Government, it will generate benefits of up to £47 billion and fare revenues of up to £34 billion over a 60-year period. See the full route map details on the DfT website.
The news was received in different ways across the sub-region.
Cllr Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council described the plans as “the same old elephant in a new pair of trousers.”
He said: “This is not in the best interests of the country and every MP should ask themselves if £51m for every parliamentary constituency offers good value for money in the current economic climate.”
Cllr Puddifoot also suggested that LB Hillingdon might take action in the UK and european courts to attempt to stop HS2 proceeding: “Through the 51M Group we are taking legal advice on the correct and most appropriate form of legal action in the UK and possibly Europe. I give a public commitment that this council will commit to funding legal action and other appropriate courses of action to ensure that both the local and national interest of our people and our environment are safeguarded.”
Meanwhile LB Hammersmith & Fulham are pleased that the go-ahead gives a major boost to their plans to regenerate the derelict industrial land around Old Oak Common, with its confirmation as a station on the HS2 line.
The council hopes that at least 20,000 jobs will be created around a major new interchange station in an area the council has dubbed “Park Royal City”. They say around a third of all HS2 passengers are expected to transfer at Old Oak Common onto the station’s various rail and road connections, including a new Crossrail, Great Western Line and orbital rail interchange.
Cllr Mark Loveday, H&F Council Cabinet Member for Strategy, says: “HS2 is the fastest way to deliver much need new homes, jobs and opportunities in one of London’s poorest areas and the Government has recognised that the case for the Old Oak interchange is overwhelming.”
“The creation of a new interchange at Old Oak, or Park Royal City International as it will be known, will unleash the creation of a new business hub bigger than Canary Wharf, bringing thousands of affordable homes and jobs to London.”