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HS2 work well underway one year on from Royal Assent
Image courtesy of Hs2 Ltd

HS2 work well underway one year on from Royal Assent

It is exactly one year since Her Majesty the Queen granted Royal Assent for the first phase of HS2 and since then, a significant amount has been achieved on the project.

Construction work has already started on the phase, which runs from London to the West Midlands, with enabling works underway.

Since Royal Assent was granted, so much progress has been made. As well as the enabling works on various sites along the route, civils contracts worth £6.6 billion have been awarded which will result in construction of tunnels, embankments and viaducts.

Elsewhere, station design contracts have been awarded, and the first recipients of the £40 million Community and Environment Fund (CEF) and Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF) have been announced.

During HS2, 25,000 construction jobs will be created, along with 2,000 apprenticeships, and the wider economy will benefit from an additional 100,000 jobs.

Mark Thurston, Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, said progress has been “significant” and outlined future plans.

“Since Royal Assent, there has been significant progress at HS2 in developing our capability to deliver Europe’s largest infrastructure project, and our focus is on designing and preparing the way for the new railway.

“Over the last year, HS2 has awarded major contracts that will support 14,000 jobs, the National College for High Speed Rail opened its doors to train the future members of our industry, all alongside a major programme of early works.

“As construction work continues to ramp up, we remain acutely aware of our responsibilities to those communities that we impact.

“Minimising disruption is at the heart of our design, while we retain our aim of creating a ‘green corridor’ consisting of new woodland, wildlife habitats and new amenity facilities to leave a lasting legacy of high quality green spaces all along the route, including the planting of seven million trees.”

Already, £70 million of funding has started to be distributed to those affected by the construction of HS2, and the government is encouraging eligible homeowners in rural areas living near the phase one route to apply for a payment under the Homeowner Payment scheme.

Already, £7 million of payments have been made, but more than £13 million are left unclaimed.

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