Two is the government's proposal for a new high speed rail line.
What is High Speed Two?
High Speed Two (HS2) is the government's proposal for a High Speed rail network to connect major citites in Britain. Phase One of HS2 will provide a dedicated high speed rail service between London, Birmingham and the West Midlands. Phase Two will extend the high speed rail network to provide links to Manchester and Leeds.
The proposed route of Phase One passes through Northamptonshire for a distance of 20.7km. Further details of the route are available on the interactive map section of the HS2 website.
How and when will High Speed Two be built?
The Government is currently in the process of seeking the powers to construct, operate and maintain Phase One of HS2 through a Hybrid Bill - the High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill 2013. If enacted by Parliament, the Bill will grant 'development consent' for the project. It is expected that Royal Assent, which will give formal planning permission for the scheme will be reached at the end of 2016. Construction is expected to commence in 2017, with the line open by 2026.
The Phase One HS2 Bill and the Environmental Statement are available to view on the Parliament website and the HS2 website respectively. Hardcopies are also available to view at the libraries in Brackley, Middleton Cheney and Woodford Halse, and also at County Hall in Northampton.
Further information on the passage of the Hybrid Bill through the House of Commons and House of Lords can be found on the Parliament website. Once the Bill has completed its passage through the Commons it will then go to the House of Lords in Spring 2016.
A public consultation on Phase Two of the line of route was held in 2013. An announcement on the details of the route is expected from Government later in 2016. The plans will follow a similar parliamentary process to Phase One.
What role does the county council have?
Since the announcement of the Phase One route, the county council has worked with local residents affected by the project and High Speed Two Limited, the government agency set up to deliver the project, to try and get the best outcome for Northamptonshire.
We have responded to a number of consultation documents and we are a member of the HS2 Planning Forum and highway and heritage sub-groups. Minutes and documents from the Planning Forum can be found on the HS2 Phase One Planning Forum pages.
In May 2014 we formally submitted a petition to parliament outlining our concerns about the HS2 project. The full petition can be downloaded below:
In January 2015, following negotiations with HS2 Ltd, a set of assurances in relation to the concerns we raised in our petition were agreed. The assurance letter can be downloaded below: