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HS2: MPs finally propose changes to make rail scheme 'fairer'

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MPs have recommended a series of amendments to plans for the HS2 rail link in a bid to lessen its adverse impact.

The measures include a longer tunnel under the Chilterns and greater noise protection in Wendover, Buckinghamshire.

Alterations which will result in "greater fairness" should be made to compensation schemes for residents living near the London to Birmingham route, according to the Commons select committee examining the project.

They also called for a "coherent approach" to the redevelopment of Euston station, north London, "better construction arrangements" for Hillingdon in the west of the capital and a remodelled maintenance depot at Washwood Heath, Birmingham to maximise local job opportunities.

Full details of the recommendations were expected to be included in the committee's final report which was due to be published today.

said: "In many cases ... we have intervened to encourage fairness, practical settlements, the giving of assurances or better mitigation."

He added: "Our work on phase one we believe helps to add substantial environmental, social and design benefits to the scheme, commensurate with the good use of public money and a viable engineering design."

Mr Syms made his comments at the final meeting of the committee, which sat for more than two years hearing evidence from affected individuals and organisations who were seeking amendments to the High Speed Rail Bill.

The legislation will now continue its passage through Parliament, including line-by-line examination by another committee of MPs, and ministers must set out details of the main mitigation measures before the Bill's final hurdle in the Commons.

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If MPs approve the legislation it will then head to the Lords for further scrutiny.

The first phase of HS2 is expected to be completed by around 2026 and will reduce journey times between London and Birmingham by 32 minutes.

A second Y-shaped phase, taking the line to north-east and north-west England and beyond, is due to be completed by around 2032/33.

The project is estimated to cost £50 billion.

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