Issue date: 16th May 2013
The State Opening of Parliament earlier this month included two Bills in the timetable for HS2.
One was the anticipated phase 1 Hybrid Bill that will be accompanied by a lengthy Environmental Statement. It is expected that the First Reading will take place in December 2013 and followed by an eight week consultation period.
Once the responses to that are consolidated and the reviewed, the Second Reading should then take place, probably in February or March 2014. The building of HS2 will be confirmed once the Bill has passed this stage.
This Second Reading will be followed by a four-week petition period before it goes in front of a Select Committee who will review the petitions. The Bill is unlikely to receive Royal Assent until 2015.
During the Parliamentary process little work can be done on the project, however a separate Paving Bill has also been announced. The Paving Bill, which wasn't expected until sometime later, will allow funding to be released so that the detailed design can proceed in parallel with the Parliamentary process.
Meanwhile, phase 2 of the scheme is still being developed and it is expected that there will be a public consultation later this year. The Working Group established by IWA is currently gathering information from various sources so that a detailed response can be submitted. All local IWA branches have been asked to contribute to this initative and submit their views by the end of May.