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HS2: Heathrow spur plans dropped by transport minister

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Image caption The Davies Commission's full report is due in the summer of 2015

Plans for a new rail link to Heathrow Airport as part of the HS2 high-speed network have been ruled out by the transport minister Patrick McLoughlin.

He was responding to a question by MP Dominic Grieve about the Heathrow spur.

Mr McLoughlin said: "I would now like to make clear that we do not intend to build the spur as part of Phase 1 or 2 of the HS2 scheme".

HS2 is a planned high-speed rail network from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

Previously the government had said any decision about the Heathrow spur would be delayed until the Davies Commission's report on future UK airport capacity had been completed.

Responding to Mr Grieve's written Parliamentary question, the minister cited the Airports Commission review findings - published in November - which "indicated that an HS2 spur is highly unlikely to be necessary to support any expansion of Heathrow airport".

Nick Hurd, Conservative MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner tweeted he was "delighted" the government had dropped the idea and gave "credit to ministers for listening to our argument".

He said the best way of connecting passengers to Heathrow was via Old Oak Common. He said it also simplified the case for extending the HS2 tunnel to protect Ickenham and Colne Valley.

Paul Prentice, assistant news editor at Rail magazine said it was a "very sensible decision. Bearing in mind there is already a spur tunnel to Heathrow and another western link being built".

Campaigner Lottie Jones from Hillingdon Against HS2 said the group was "delighted" with the decision but cautious that it was not "just a pre-election sweetener" that might be revoked.

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