Despite the ongoing concerns surrounding COVID-19, HS2 is continuing, albeit the legislative process has been delayed, the current position of both Phase 2A and Phase 2B is as follows.
Phase 2A West Midlands to Crewe
- The Bill is currently before the House of Lords Select Committee, which has been suspended due to COVID-19, a date for the committee to reconvene has not been set yet.
- Royal Assent is expected to be granted by the end of 2020.
- Ground Investigation (GIS) works are continuing, although environmental surveys have been suspended until further notice.
Phase 2B Western Leg Crewe to Manchester
- A hybrid bill is being prepared to allow the route to proceed, it is not expected to be published this year.
- Assessments are taking place on how HS2 will be connected to the northern transport networks.
- A further consultation on route-wide updates and design refinements is expected to be launched in the autumn of 2020.
Jonathan Bell of Rostons comments that “while it seems certain that HS2 will proceed to Manchester, the impact of COVID-19 will pose difficulties in ensuring that those affected by the route are able to directly with HS2 and ensure its impact is mitigated as much as possible”.