THE LEADER of Warwick District Council has voiced his disappointment after HS2 was given the official green-light.
The controversial high speed line, which will cut through the district, has been given parliamentary approval enabling phase one of HS2 to be built linking London and Birmingham.
District council leader Andrew Mobbs told The Observer: “As a council I feel that we have done all that we can to oppose the HS2 route.
We have helped affected communities by supporting their petitions to Parliament and their appearances at both select Committees.
“In August 2016 we became a Qualifying Authority which gives us responsibility for issuing consents or approvals on some of the design and construction details of the project. However this is little compensation for the negative impact this will inevitably bring to our communities.”
A total of 54 kilometres of the 190km route will travel through the heart of Warwickshire, with the first trains set to run in 2026.
HS2 Ltd now intends to carry out early works throughout 2017 ahead of the main contractors starting on site from next year . The early works include site investigations, enabling works, demolition and land preparation, and new wildlife habitat creations.
Coun George Illingworth, district council spokesman on HS2, said: “The council’s role now is to work with HS2 Ltd to minimise the disruption to our district and ensure that our residents and businesses can continue with their everyday lives during the estimated ten year construction period. We will also continue to support our residents, particularly those who are most affected.”
Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright said he would continue working to ensure constituents affected got rightful compensation.
He said: “I have spent the last six years engaged in the detail of the HS2 Bill and have sought to secure the best possible compensation for constituents who are affected by the proposed railway line, as well as working to improve mitigation for the areas affected by the project.
“Working with local action groups and individual constituents we have made some improvements to the line and to the compensation schemes. With strong support for the project in both houses, parliament has now overwhelmingly approved this bill and the railway line will be built.
“However, my work on this project does not stop here and I will continue to work with local stakeholders and individuals during the construction phase and I will continue to support constituents in their application for compensation”
But the Government argue HS2 will provide a “massive” boost for the UK economy.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Getting the go-ahead to start building HS2 is a massive boost to the UK’s future economic prosperity and a further clear signal that Britain is open for business.
“HS2 will be the world’s most advanced passenger railway and the backbone of our rail network. Royal Assent is a major step towards significantly increasing capacity on our congested railways for both passengers and freight; improving connections between the biggest cities and regions; generating jobs, skills and economic growth and helping build an economy that works for all.
“We will now press ahead with constructing the railway while continuing to ensure affected communities get appropriate support and are treated with fairness, compassion and respect.
The Government say HS2 will create around 25,000 jobs during construction as well as 2,000 apprenticeships. It will also support growth in the wider economy, worth an additional 100,000 jobs.