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HS2 row rumbles on HS2

HS2 row rumbles on HS2

The contentious plan to build a second high speed rail link (HS2) in the UK has run into more problems, with transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin acknowledging that the Bill will not pass into law before the next general election.

The remarks come as a major blow to supporters of the plan, which has been dogged by criticism ever since it was first launched by the coalition.

Indeed, it has been characterised in some quarters as a white elephant, meaning that the money designated for the project will not be spent wisely.

What's more, environmentalists have warned that the plan will lead to the destruction of large areas of the surrounding countryside.

It has been suggested that the proposed rail link will become a major issue at the next election and could even determine the outcome.

Reflecting on the news, Iain Macauley, spokesman for the HS2 Action Alliance, said: "This is yet more evidence that HS2 is far from a done deal. It is representative of the chaos surrounding the whole white-elephant scheme.

"We have heard all sorts of contradictions and bluster - from discrepancies in likely costs to whether work will start in the north or the south."

On the flipside, a Department for Transport spokeswoman said that the government remains confident that spades will be in the ground by 2017 as planned.

She added: "A Hybrid Bill will continue its passage through Parliament once it has started even after a general election. What matters is construction and completion and we are on course to deliver."

In February, a group of MPs said that some of the funding set aside for the rail project should instead be spent on rebuilding parts of the south-west following devastating flooding.

Despite this, the government remains steadfast in its support of the HS2 project.

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