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What is HS2?

High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) is a Government national infrastructure project to build a high speed rail line linking London to Manchester and Leeds, via Birmingham.

The project has been split into three phases; Phase One, Phase 2a and Phase 2b. Phase One of the HS2 route will run from London Euston to Birmingham and Lichfield with intermediate stations at Old Oak Common in west London, and near Birmingham Airport. Phase 2a extends the route to Crewe and Phase 2b to Manchester and Leeds.

In Phase One a total of 54.4 kilometres of railway will be built in Warwickshire.

What is Phase 2b?

In November 2016, the Government confirmed the route for the next phase of the HS2 line, Phase 2b. Phase 2b links the West Midlands to Leeds with intermediate stations in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire. Around 18km of the route is in Warwickshire. The Government held a consultation in October 2018 on the working draft Environmental Statement for Phase 2b, which will form part of the future hybrid Bill to seek powers for its construction.

Updates and links to the full suite of documents for HS2 Phase 2b.

What is Phase 2a?

HS2 Phase 2a is the route from West Midlands to Crewe. At the northern end it will connect with the West Coast Main Line (WMCL) to the south of Crewe to allow HS2 services to join the WCML and call at Crewe station. Passenger services are planned to commence on the Phase 2a route in 2027, subject to parliamentary approval of the Phase 2a hybrid bill.

How can I find out what's happening in my local area?

The latest HS2 project updates are included on Commonplace and you can also sign up for email notifications.

Live information on roadworks, including HS2 works.

Why is HS2 construction work continuing during the Coronavirus outbreak?

HS2 contractors can continue construction work during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak by adhering to Government guidance on social distancing and travelling to work.

HS2 Ltd is reviewing its works on its construction sites in line with Government and Public Health England (PHE) advice on dealing with Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Government’s current COVID-19 strategy says that construction activity can continue where it complies with this guidance.

More information on this guidance.

HS2 Ltd states that where its construction firms “are confident that they can operate in line with PHE and industry guidance, sites have continued to operate, and construction works are continuing to be undertaken”.

If a member of the public wishes to enquire about HS2 working practices or make a complaint about contractor behaviour, they should call the HS2 Helpdesk in the first instance. It is open 24 hours a day, on freephone 08081 434 434 or email at

The approach to the current work programme and the identified sites was detailed by HS2 Ltd earlier in its ancient woodland strategy and on its works in your area pages:

Full Government guidance on construction working during the outbreak.

What is Warwickshire County Council’s position on HS2?

High Speed 2 (HS2) is the biggest infrastructure project in a generation. The construction of HS2 Phase One will have a significant impact on the lives, communities and countryside of Warwickshire for the next 10 years and beyond, while the impact of Phase 2b will be felt for as long again in North Warwickshire. It is imperative that the county council continues to provide detailed scrutiny of HS2 to ensure that the impact on Warwickshire is as minimal as possible.

The county council resolved in December 2010 to “oppose the scheme in its present form” and “to work with the Government consultants to reduce the impact on Warwickshire of any high speed railway to ensure it does not unnecessarily harm the Warwickshire countryside or create blight on our residents, businesses and recreational facilities.” On February 25 2014 a council resolution was passed to formally oppose the High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill deposited in Parliament. This included authorisation to instruct a Parliamentary Agent to petition against it.

As the project has progressed, the county council’s priorities have evolved to include mitigation, community advocacy, maximising the opportunities for deriving economic benefit, considering highways applications, ensuring community safety and holding HS2 Ltd to account during the construction phase.

What is the HS2 Act?

The HS2 Act grants the powers to construct Phase One of the HS2 network, but also powers to:

  • build and maintain HS2 and its associated works
  • compulsorily acquire interests in the land required
  • affect or change rights of way, including the stopping-up or diversion of highways and waterways (permanently or temporarily)
  • modify infrastructure belonging to statutory undertakers (e.g. utility companies)
  • carry out work on listed buildings and demolish buildings in conservation areas; and
  • carry out protective works to buildings and third-party infrastructure.

It also grants the necessary changes to existing legislation to facilitate construction and operation of Phase One of HS2.

How did the Act become law?

The HS2 Act is the Parliamentary legislation to build High Speed 2. It was first introduced to Parliament in November 2013 as a Hybrid Bill - a Parliamentary bill combining the features of a public bill and a private bill. Public bills concern the public general law of the land, which affect everybody, while private bills affect individuals, institutions or localities differently from the provisions of the general law.

In Parliament, Hybrid Bills are treated partly like public bills and partly like private bills. As a public bill, this is first presented by a Government Minister (First Reading) and is then debated in a Second Reading debate. During the second reading the bill is referred to a specially appointed select committee, similar to the process for private bills, which gives individuals and bodies - directly and specially affected by the bill - the opportunity to object to the bill’s provisions and seek its amendment.

The select committee hears argument and evidence from both the promoters of the bill (HS2 Ltd in this case) and the petitioners. The committee can then recommend changes to the bill. Following the select committee stage, a public bill committee sits and the bill’s clauses are debated by MPs.

Following the public bill committee, the Hybrid Bill progresses through various passages of Parliament including the report stage and Third Reading. This process happens in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords until gains Royal Assent and becomes law. Royal Assent for HS2 Phase One was granted in February 2017. It is now known as The HS2 Act.

The relevant links to further reading are available on our web pages.

What did Warwickshire County Council achieve in Parliament?

The county council submitted four Parliamentary petitions, three in the Commons (The Bill, Additional Provision 2 and 4) and one in the Lords. Each petition intended to mitigate the impact of HS2 and improve the outcomes for Warwickshire. The county council appeared in front of a select committee three times – twice in the Commons and once in the Lords.

The petitioning process and negotiations resulted in 12 assurances from HS2 in relation to matters of traffic management, highways, ecology, safe cycle routes along main roads, a cycle bridge over the Fosse Way at Offchurch, commitments on the route of Public Rights of Way, a special management zone to ensure continuity of engagement between Phase One and 2b in North Warwickshire, and an undertaking to provide land and funding for a new primary school at Water Orton in advance of the HS2 main works in the area.

View the county council’s Undertaking and Assurance letters.

During the future development of Phase 2b the council will maintain a pragmatic approach and press HS2 Ltd to properly mitigate the negative impacts of the project on North Warwickshire.

Under what powers are HS2 operating?

The HS2 Act of Parliament provides for construction on scheduled works to start within 10 years of the Act having passed.

The legislation includes amendments made as a result of petitions, the formal commitments called ‘undertakings’ or ‘assurances’ which must be delivered by the scheme. These are all included on the register of undertakings and assurances.

Following Royal Assent for the HS2 Act, HS2 Ltd appointed contractors to deliver early works and main works for the railway. In Warwickshire contractors Laing Murphy JV (LM) and Fusion JV are conducting early works and Balfour Beatty Vinci (BBV JV) and Eiffage Kier BAM Ferrovial (EKBF JV) the main works.

Notice to Proceed was issued by the Government in April 2020 to the joint venture companies contracted to build Phase One of the railway. Notice to Proceed is the formal approval for the project to begin the construction phase and activate the main works civils contracts, held by specific joint-ventures. In Warwickshire the main works contractors operating are EKBF JV between Wormleighton and Long Itchington Wood Tunnel, and BBV JV continuing up the route to North Warwickshire.

View HS2’s latest work programme.

What is Notice to Proceed?

On 15 April 2020, the Department for Transport gave approval for HS2 Ltd to issue Notice to Proceed to the Main Works Civils Contractors working on Phase One of the project.

The issuing of Notice to Proceed is the milestone at which the MWCC contractors’ work moves from scheme design and preparatory work, to full detailed design and construction of the railway between London and the West Midlands.

What is the Oakervee Review?

The Department for Transport announced in August 2019 that Douglas Oakervee would chair an independent review of HS2.

The Oakervee Review was tasked with assembling evidence to provide the Prime Minister, the Transport Secretary and the Government to make an informed decision on the future of the scheme.

In February 2020, Oakervee made a series of recommendations in his report which provided the basis for the Government to proceed with HS2:

Can Warwickshire County Council protest against HS2?

The county council is unable to use public funds to protest against HS2. The Government has imposed restrictions on local authorities’ use of public spending through the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity. This means that the county council is unable to use lobbyists - eg. political professionals - to influence public officials, members of Parliament, political parties or the Government to take a particular view on any issue.

The county council respects the right to those who wish to make their point, but people must do it safely and lawfully. Such activity is first and foremost a police matter and we expect HS2 Ltd to treat these individuals and groups with sensitivity.

How do I find out about HS2’s Property Compensation scheme?

View the details of HS2’s various property schemes for those affected.
If you have any questions about property compensation call the HS2 hotline on 08081 434 434, email HS2’s helpdesk or visit HS2’s website.

What is a General Vesting Declaration?

General Vesting Declarations (GVD) are prepared under compulsory purchase powers granted to the Secretary of State for Transport under Section 4 of the HS2 Act.

Ownership of the land defined in the GVD transfers to the Secretary of State for Transport on a specified vesting date.

How do I report problems with HS2 construction workers?

If you are experiencing any issues with HS2 construction workers please register your complaint with HS2’s helpline on 08081 434 434.

If the problem is not resolved you can contact the independent construction commissioner at

What do I need to do if there is a problem with roadworks that I believe is related to HS2 works?

If you notice an issue with roadworks such as a broken temporary traffic light that you believe to be related to HS2 works then this needs to be reported to HS2 help desk in the first instance. The help desk can be contacted 24/7 by calling freephone 08081 434 434 or email at

Check live information on roadworks, including HS2 works.

Who is responsible for the arrangements to close rights of way affected by HS2 works?

HS2 Ltd and its contractors are responsible for the notice and publication of temporary closures or alterations it makes to Public Rights of Way. These should be published in advance on HS2’s Commonplace website and through other methods of community engagement provided by HS2 Ltd and its contractors.

People who experience any issues with HS2 interferences with Rights of Way they should contact HS2 immediately on 08081 434 434 or

What do I do if need to complain about HS2 or I believe there is an issue with non-compliance?

In instances where you need to complain about HS2 or believe they have failed to comply with the legislation, it is essential that HS2 Ltd is made aware of your complaint or concerns directly. HS2 Ltd will then be able to address the issues raised in line with its complaint policy.

All complaints should be clearly marked ‘complaint’ and registered with the 24-hour HS2 Helpdesk on 08081 434 43 or

A copy of the HS2 complaint process can be located online.

How much money has Warwickshire spent ‘opposing’ HS2?

The total amount of money spent by the county council opposing the principle of HS2 (not discharging any statutory functions) between 2010 and 2014 was £150,972.20.

What is the total county council budget for dealing with HS2?

Council resolved on 6 February 2014 to approve future funding for the management and petitioning process for Phases One and Two of the HS2 project. The following table shows the figures for financial years 2016-17 – 2018-19.




£185,911.35 (year-end actual)






£155,078 (budget)

What is happening next? (Spring 2020 update)

HS2 Ltd has authorised Phase One early works to be carried out under the legal powers contained in the HS2 Act. Main works contractors have received Notice to Proceed to produce detailed design ahead of starting on construction.

HS2 Ltd is continuing to develop Phase 2b of the scheme while Phase 2a (to Crewe) proceeds through Parliament.

Meanwhile, the Government is drawing up an Integrated Rail Plan looking at the rail needs of the Midlands and the north, to include Northern Powerhouse Rail, Midlands Rail Hub, HS2 Phase 2b and other proposed Network Rail projects. The Plan is due to be published at the end of 2020.

What further information is available?

Further information is available on the following websites

HS2 Ltd can provide documents or additional available information by request via the helpdesk on 08081 434 434.

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