HS2 act given Royal Assent

The High Speed Rail Preparation (paving) Act has received Royal Assent, allowing construction design work to begin on HS2.

The Act, which MPs voted 350 to 34 in favour of at its third reading last month, gives HS2 the green light to award construction design contracts for both phases of the new system, carry out surveys and pay compensation to affected homeowners.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This is a major milestone in the HS2 project. The new north-south railway needs cross party backing, so I am very pleased that MPs representing constituencies across the country and Peers from all three main parties have again given a clear signal of support.

“Receiving Royal Assent for this act on schedule provides the public and businesses further reassurance of our determination to drive forward and deliver HS2 as quickly as possible.”

The next major milestone will be the passing of the Hybrid Bill, which will be introduced to the Commons for its first reading on Monday.