HS2 progress and impact on environment to be investigated by Transport Committee
1 November 2022
The Transport Committee will question the CEO of HS2 and heads of environmental groups on the project’s progress, costs and impacts on the environment.
The first half of the session will focus on environmental impacts that will result from the construction of railway lines from London to the north of England, including new viaducts and tunnels in areas of outstanding natural beauty.
Purpose of session
The cross-party Committee will examine the various efforts being made to mitigate damage to areas of ancient woodland that are rich in biodiversity, such as “translocating” species and investments in enhancing unaffected areas. There will also be questions about HS2’s plans for a miles-long “Green Corridor” of habitat creation.
MPs will also look into the company’s claims that it can achieve net zero emissions by 2035 due to the predictions that by increasing rail capacity it will reduce car and lorry journeys.
In part two of the session, HS2 CEO Mark Thurston will be asked about a range of issues including the construction progress, supply chain issues and mounting costs – now thought to be between £72 and £98 billion for the entire project.
MPs may also raise environmental issues with Mr Thurston based on witnesses’ answers during the first panel.
The high-speed railway line will see trains travel at speeds of up to 200mph between London, Birmingham and the north.
The current estimated completion times are for the London to West Midlands route by 2033; the West Midlands to Crewe branch by 2034; and Crewe to Manchester by 2041. A West Midlands to East Midlands phase has yet to be passed in legislation.
Following the former Chair Huw Merriman’s resignation from the Committee on 28 October, members are expected to appoint an interim Chair from the Committee’s existing membership until a new Chair is elected by the entire House of Commons. Nominations for the Chair will be accepted until Tuesday 15 November. If more than one MP is nominated an election will take place on 16 November with the result announced that evening. More information here.
Wednesday 2 November 2022, Grimond Room (Portcullis House)
- Rachel Giles, Evidence and Planning Programme Manager, Cheshire Wildlife Trusts
- Rebecca Pullinger, Lead Policy Advocate, The Woodland Trust
- Kathleen Covill, HS2 Advice Team Principal Adviser, Natural England
- Mark Thurston, CEO, HS2 Ltd
- Clive Maxwell, Director General of High Speed Rail Group, Department of Transport