In February 2020 the Government responded to the Oakervee Review that it would continue with Phase 2b of HS2, extending high-speed rail from the West Midlands to the North of England.
The Government plans to present this as part of an Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands by the end of 2020, informed by an assessment from the National Infrastructure Commission, which will look at how HS2 Phase 2b, Northern Powerhouse Rail, Midlands Rail Hub and other rail programmes should be delivered. The Government has currently asked HS2 Ltd to pause work on the Eastern Leg of Phase 2b, but is proceeding with development of the Western Leg (from Crewe to Manchester).
2019 Design Refinement Consultation
Between June and September 2019, the Government consulted on 11 proposed changes to the design of the Phase 2b route. 1,300 responses were received to the consultation.
A report summarising the main themes contained in the feedback has been published and can be viewed via the link below.
In addition, the Minister of State for Transport, having considered the feedback to the consultation, has published his decision on whether to include the refinements to the Western Leg. A decision on the inclusion of the Eastern Leg refinements will follow the conclusion of the Integrated Rail Plan and is subject to its outcomes. We will provide further updates on these developments as they become available.
The consultation report and the Minister of Transport’s decision can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/hs2-phase-2b-design-refinement-consultation