This event from Transport Times discusses the updated proposals for a new high-speed rail line from London to Birmingham and how to extend it to Leeds, which will be presented by HS2 Ltd to the Government at the end of October 2010. A major public consultation on the revised plans will begin early in 2011 with a Hybrid Bill to be laid before Parliament in order for works to start in 2015.

While progress is clearly being sustained on the UK’s high-speed rail agenda there still remain key areas for major debate.

The original plans published in March 2010 focussed on a London to Birmingham line without a direct Heathrow link. The arrival of the new Government brought with it a request that both Lord Mawhinney and HS2 Ltd revisit the case for serving Heathrow. The Mawhinney report has since corroborated the previous Government’s decision to go for Old Oak Common as the best option for a London terminal in the immediate future. However, Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, has since rejected this call for an interchange,and has asked HS2 Ltd to carry-out work on options for directly serving Heathrow.

There has also been a growing body of public opposition to the proposed routing through the Chilterns – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and South Warwickshire, with the best way to minimise environmental impact and deliver environmental mitigation still under major discussion.

With much of the money coming from the taxpayer, the debate also continues as to whether constructing a brand new network can be justified rather than running new high-speed services on an upgraded version of the existing classic rail network.

Similarly, a discussion continues on whether a route as far as Scotland is genuinely viable on value for money grounds.

Issues for debate include:

  • will the Government re-configure the route to include Heathrow?
  • is a route to Scotland really viable?
  • newly built high-speed network versus upgrade of existing classic network?
  • are the environmental costs worth the end results?
  • how can we keep construction costs down?
  • how can the private sector get involved?


Delegate fees: Not-for-profit organisations £295.

                        Profit-making organisations £395.

Venue: CBI Conference Centre, First Floor, Centre Point Tower, 103 New Oxford Street, WC1A