23 November 2010
Speaking at a debate on high-speed rail (HSR), Transport Minister, Theresa Villiers, announced that the consultation on HSR would run for five months and will consider the local environmental impacts and ways to mitigate its impact. High-speed rail will be a valuable contributor to the Government’s low-carbon agenda and will help foster economic growth across the UK, she argued, assuring the House that the benefits of building the new lines would offset the costs involved.

Increasing rail demand, both for commuters and freight, cannot be met without a new line for high-speed rail, the Minister continued, arguing against proposals to upgrade existing lines.

Plans for high-speed rail 2 had been a Labour initiative from the outset, Labour Shadow Transport, Andrew Gwynne, asserted, backing proposals to build new rail lines to help increase capacity and reduce travel times. He went on to call for an interchange station with the new Crossrail line and Paddington station and for the Government to extend the line to Scotland, highlighting the economic benefits this would bring. Any plans must include full consultations with the public in light of the local disagreements it was causing and must ensure adequate capacity for rail freight, he argued.

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