The Bill for phase one of HS2, which gives the government the power to start building the railway, is being published today.
The hybrid Bill, which is effectively the planning application for the scheme, will also give individuals the chance to petition parliament both for and against the proposals.
Transport secretary Patrick Mcloughlin said:
The Bill will give us the powers we need to get the railway built and start delivering the extra room on our railways that this country so desperately needs. It will also start the process of rebalancing the economy and bringing our great cities closer together.
That is why the Bill is so important – it marks the move from aspiration to delivery. Now is the time to be bold and ensure HS2 becomes a reality.
The government will also publish later today the environment statement for phase one of the scheme, giving those on or near the line a better picture of how they'll be effected.
The government has scaled back its prediction of HS2's benefits, but insists that the £50bn project will be extremely positive. It cites a recent study by KPMG that estimates that, when fully operational, HS2 will generate around £15bn of economic benefits annually.
Unfortunately, recent polling conducted by YouGov showed that on 30 October, only 27 per cent of people supported the project, while 53 per cent opposed it.