UK

High Speed Two rail line approval: Your reactions

A controversial new high-speed rail line between London and Birmingham has been given the go-ahead by the government.

This first phase of High Speed Two (HS2) could be running by 2026, later extending to northern England.

Transport Secretary Justine Greening has announced extra tunnelling along the 90-mile (140km) first phase in response to environmental concerns. Opponents dispute government claims HS2 will deliver benefits worth up to £47bn, at costs of about £33bn.

Here, BBC News website readers give their reaction to the announcement.

Geoffrey Sleight, Aylesbury

I live less than 400m from where HS2 will run and do not look forward to trains speeding up to 250mph past my home in Aylesbury. And then there's the impact during the construction.

If I thought it would bring real economic benefits I would be prepared to put up with it, although no-one would ever be happy having a railway running by their house. It seems strange to start it in the south, rather than in the north where the benefits would be more obvious.

They could start construction of high speed rail in the north, thus creating the benefit of much needed rail inter-connectivity in these regions to begin with, and giving incentive to connect it to the south. Because you can bet this line will never go further than Birmingham once people begin to see its growing astronomical cost and over-runs. When have government cost estimates ever been correct? But then it's only our money.

At a time when we are effectively going through a recession with cuts and job losses, it's hardly fair for public money to be wasted on a project which will largely benefit vested interests in construction and destroy vast swathes of countryside at taxpayers' expense in the process.

I'm fed up with the media portraying only wealthy "shire" people being affected by it. In Fairford Leys, there's about 700 people affected. A lot of everyday people, including many at nearby Stoke Mandeville, will also be affected as well as London and outer London residents.

I took part in the consultation, but it was flawed. For example, it didn't look at the way in which technology and other factors are changing business and how much of a role they might play in the future.

Network Rail has a vested interest so it seems strange that they effectively sanctioned it. The process should have been truly independent.

I'm a Nimby, according to ex-Transport Minister Phillip Hammond. Look up his protest against a rail line when it was due to run through his constituency. If I'm a Nimby, he's a hypocrite.

Dean Cleaver, Staines

I am an IT consultant and with my work I'm always travelling up and down the country to visit various customers. I also have a lot of friends who live in Birmingham or Manchester.

I also tend to commute out to clients, going up on Monday, coming back on Friday.

With this new rail line I should be able to hop on a train to London, catch some Tubes and then be on the HS2 heading north - which should match, or even beat, the amount of time it would have taken me to drive. My manager would definitely encourage me to use it as we bill for travel time so reducing that would allow us to be more competitive.

As it stands right now, because it essentially doubles my travel time if I don't, I am pretty much forced to drive there - which I hate doing. Considering the way the roads are going and the lack of motorway widening by the time this is up and running, it will be needed. I'm sure it will help reduce car use.

Most clients now have moved their main bases out of London but the consultants tend to work from London, because that's where all the jobs are. This would allow consultants to base themselves out of London and would help consultancies to grow in places like Birmingham.

When I left university in Birmingham, I wanted to live in the city or nearby, but couldn't because all the jobs were in London. With this link I could be based in the Midlands and work in London.

Obviously they'll need to be careful about where they build it, but trains aren't as loud as motorways or airports and there's technology that can help minimise the noise.

Alastair Moir, Wendover

I live in Wendover which is likely to be one of the most affected villages on the proposed route - my business is here and I have been a resident for over 40 years. It's not just the noise from the trains that concern me, it's also the noise and disruption during the construction phase.

My business and many others are frightened by the impact during construction which will make access to the village difficult. I know that the shopkeepers are very concerned about the impact on their trade.

I'm opposed to it because I can't see who will use it and because I don't think the economic case stacks up. The cost of using it will be prohibitive to the ordinary man and the economic benefits don't stack up.

It really sticks in the craw that the consultation, done at great expense, seems to have completely ignored the opposition views. There's no reflection of the opposition in the report. Consultation is a two-way process, this was entirely one way. It feels like they've pretended to consult as a box-ticking exercise to get through the review.

As a resident I'm angered because a beautiful part of the country will be decimated by it. The very pretty valley between Great Missenden and Wendover will be destroyed.

Arthur Dent in A Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy had to leave planet Earth to make way for an intergalactic highway. I know how he feels.

More of your comments

Excellent news! Well done to the government for making the decision. France, Germany and Spain have high speed links and this will bring the UK in line and make us more competitive. Greg Dash, Herts

Totally unjust and against the wishes of the people - somebody is having their pockets lined to push ahead with this project. There is no economic case, we cannot afford it, what happened to the preservation of the English countryside? Ninety percent of the workers on HS1 were foreign, so to talk about increasing employment is not applicable. Why would you travel west to Birmingham from London to go further north? Commuters from Birmingham will not travel to London to work unless it is for a high salary as jobs such as cleaners and manual workers will not be able to afford the season ticket! The M40 is the best, fastest motorway in the UK - driving to Birmingham is quick and cheap - negates the reason for a train! Can anyone provide a truly valid reason to destroy the Chilterns? The case does not stack up. Alison Turner Holmes, High Wycombe, Bucks

Although originally against this development, having now thought through the alternatives, I am very much in favour. If we are to think back to the building of the M1 there was huge concern upon its impact, however where would we be today without it? Having travelled countless times on the overcrowded line from Euston to B'ham the sooner we have built this the better (HS2). Langton Wildman, Milton Keynes

A huge inefficient use of limited resources. The country is in a dreadful financial state. The money would be better spent on improving the rail structure and making more trains run on time. Lengthening trains would help in all over crowding. HS2 makes no sense financially and environmentally. The government should take note of the 'Fryra' high speed service in the Netherlands - opened just 2 years ago - is close to financial collapse with passengers shunning its premium fares and trains running up to 85% empty. Fiona Hartwright, Buckinghamshire

Well, I believe this is a great idea, for one it reduces travel times, don't we all hate being stuck on a long journey for hours on end? This new rail network cuts times almost by half and then there's the second phase which halves times from Manchester to London and Birmingham to Leeds. This is also projected to cut out 9million car journeys and 4.5million plane journeys, surely we want to help the environment and cut emissions, and what better way to do it then with this new rail network. Jonathon Simon, Gillingham

The budget for HS2 would be better spent on high speed data communication networks. This would allow businesses to conduct work/meetings etc. across remote locations with virtual face to face rather then physical. This is technology that already exists and only needs to be made cheaper to run/own to be taken up by business. This would then have the effect of reducing traffic across all modes of transportation. A far greener solution then tearing up the countryside for yet another rail line that will no doubt suffer from the wrong kind of leaves on the line. Neil Brown, Aylesbury

More on this story