HS2 Minister, Huw Merriman has suggested it’s full steam ahead in Lichfield – but more clarity is needed says Michael Fabricant.
In a debate in the House of Commons today (14th March) Michael Fabricant quizzed Huw Merriman as to whether construction work on HS2 will be halted or allowed to continue.
Michael Fabricant said in the Commons Chamber: “Lichfield lies to the north of Birmingham, but it is also in Phase 1 of HS2’s construction plan. Currently, around the Cathedral City there are huge amounts of engineering works, and massive road closures.
“What my constituents – and what I – would like to know is: is this pause in the construction of HS2 going to apply to Lichfield, in which case, will HS2 make good the construction work and re-open the roads? Or will the work continue to be carried on as if there were no pause to other parts of the network?”
Minister of State for Rail and HS2, Huw Merriman, replied: “I engaged with the Hon Member yesterday on this point, and I salute him for the manner in which he has represented his constituents’ interests. I recognise this is a concern.
“As far as the Government is concerned, those parts of the HS2 network where construction is going on will actually be completed, and we will do that to the timescale that I have talked to. I do need to give him a little more clarity on what that will mean in terms of the scaling, but as far as I’m concerned Phase 1 will be completed and ready for us to deliver trains by 2033. I’ll talk to him further about this and write to him as well.”
Michael now says: “That is a pretty clear indication that despite some HS2 notices going up to the contrary in Lichfield, work IS going to continue on the infrastructure around the City. The misery and inconvenience caused by these works cannot be allowed to continue any longer than they have to.
“As everyone knows, my preference would have been to scrap the whole project, but given that is not going to happen, the works around Lichfield need to continue at pace including the construction of the rail tunnel under the A38 at Streethay at the eastern end of Lichfield. This blight on the lives of my constituents and commuters along the A38 need to return to normal as quickly as possible. I look forward to receiving further details from the minister once he has discussed the issue in detail with HS2 Limited and their contractors. I hope he can confirm clearly that works will continue swiftly around Lichfield with a completion date in the not too distant future.”