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HS2 railway, UK – route development to hybrid bill: consultation

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Since 2009 the promoter of the UK’s High Speed Two (HS2) railway has listened to others’ views on development of the first London-to-West Midlands phase. Initial scheme development required time to think and determine the best response to the remit, working in confidence with key stakeholders. Through the early part of 2011 a major national consultation was undertaken on the strategy for HS2, the approach to developing the scheme and the route itself. Analysis of all responses informed the route for phase one as the first stage of a new national railway network. Public participation continued through bill development with consultations on the environmental statement scope and methodology, a draft statement and route refinements consultation, alongside an intensive programme of more local community and stakeholder engagement. Through consultation and engagement, HS2 determined the ‘blueprint’ for high-speed rail in the UK, ensuring that mitigation is inherent in the scheme that will guide the construction and ongoing operation of HS2. This gave the government and parliament the confidence to approve HS2.