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According to press reports the new Transport Minister Justine Greening has agreed to meet MPs’ on 21 November to discuss their concerns about the proposed London-to-Birmingham high-speed rail link.
Ms Greening, who was only handed the Transport brief last month after her predecessor Philip Hammond was sent to Defence following the resignation of Liam Fox, has certainly been thrown in at the deep end as far as HS2 is concerned.
She is due to make a decision on whether to press ahead with the controversial scheme by the end of December. Before then, however, she has 55,000 responses from a public consultation to wade through, not to mention the implications of a recently released and not entirely supportive Commons Select Committee report on HS2 to consider.
The Labour Party, despite having initially backed the current proposed route, has also thrown Ms Greening a curve ball in the form of a new suggested route, likely to be more popular with Conservative MPs whose constituents are affected.
Whatever she decides, Ms Greening is going to have some very disgruntled people to contend with.
If she says yes a number of Conservative MPs and many affected property owners in the Tory’s Home Counties heartland north of London are going to be very unhappy. They will likely take to the courts to mount legal challenges to the project.
However, a no vote is far from the easy option as it will upset a broad church of influential bodies, including MPs and businesses in the north of England and Scotland who view high-speed rail as vital to boost the regions’ economies.
There is already pressure mounting from some quarters for the government to reveal the entire detailed route of HS2 before giving it the go ahead. This could significantly delay the project.
Find out more about HS2 and how Knight Frank can help affected property owners
Find out more about the Select Committee report into HS2
Discover which MPs constituencies are affected