HS2 roundup

MPs are to debate the second reading of the HS2 High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill in the House of Commons on Monday. The debate is expected to start at 3.30pm.

Japanese firm Hitachi has secured £2.7bn of funding for its contract to bring new high speed trains to the East Coast Main Line. Nearly 500 carriages for the class 800 trains for the route will be built creating 730 jobs.  The contract to deliver the trains was agreed with Agility Trains, a consortium of Hitachi Rail Europe and John Laing.

Date of the Second Reading of the HS2 hybrid Bill had been confirmed as Monday 28 April. With hybrid Bills there are additional stages between Second Reading and Committee Stage - the Petitioning Period and Hearing of Petitions by a Select Committee – which will be set during the Second Reading. Current indication is that a two week period to 16 May will be allowed for petitioning by organisations and three weeks to 22 May for individuals.

Better safeguards need to be implemented if harmful environmental impacts of HS2 are to be minimised, the Environmental Audit Committee has warned in its report, "HS2 and the environment". Parliament, in its capacity as the planning authority for HS2, the report says, should ensure that everything possible is done to limit damage to ancient woodlands and SSSIs and that where loss is genuinely unavoidable, that compensation is applied to the fullest extent possible.

HS2 ltd has launched a supplier survey to help gauge whether the potential supply chain is ready to work to Level 2 Building Information Modelling (BIM) procuring and managing data for the design, build, operation and maintenance of the new high speed rail link. The survey is open to any company planning to bid for work on the project and is not a formal part of the procurement process. HS2 has appointed Mace to run the survey as part of a larger BIM Up-skilling Study.