The UK Government has confirmed ‘notice to proceed’ on the new High Speed 2 (HS2) railway.
The move means the project will transition to its next stage as the companies involved receive formal approval to begin detailed design and construction, following the decision earlier this year to proceed with the project.
Scheduled to open in phases between 2028 and 2040, the high-speed railway will link London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds – it has been a topic of concern for environmentalists, who believe it will significantly disrupt the natural habitats it passes through.
The government said: “At a time when the construction sector faces uncertainties during the coronavirus outbreak, issuing ‘Notice to proceed’ provides a vote of confidence in construction companies and the wider supply chain supporting HS2.”
HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson added: “While the government’s top priority is rightly to combat the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives, we cannot delay work on our long-term plan to level up the country.
“HS2 will be the spine of the country’s transport network, boosting capacity and connectivity while also rebalancing opportunity fairly across our towns and cities.
“Following the decision earlier this year to proceed with the project, this next step provides thousands of construction workers and businesses across the country with certainty at a time when they need it, and means that work can truly begin on delivering this transformational project.“