Work on High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) is supporting 9,000 jobs across England.
One of the continent’s largest and most ambitious infrastructure projects, HS2 will provide a faster connection from London to Birmingham in Phase I, before extending up to Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Wigan and Crewe in the second phase.
Activity is currently underway on more than 250 sites, supporting 2,000 firms who are working on the site – the majority of which are SMEs.
The fact that 9,000 jobs are supported on the site is a boost for the economy; at peak construction, it is expected that more than 30,000 jobs will be supported by the scheme.
Mark Thurston, Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, commented.
He said: “HS2 is more than a railway, it’s also an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for the country.
“The jobs and skills that we will create in every corner of the country will give us an industry to be proud of, and one that we can export to other countries.
“As work gathers pace on the project, the jobs and opportunities for British businesses to get involved mean the benefits are here and now.
“Britain once led the world in railway engineering, and it can once again be at its forefront through HS2.”
The 9,000 jobs already filled thanks to HS2 are filled by a variety of first phase activity, as part of enabling works for construction.
This will prepare the way for embankments, stations and the line itself.
HS2 Ltd has spoken to Transport Britain about the archaeology work that is taking place; as well as this though, land clearance is taking place, as are demolitions, tree planting, utility diversions and environmental mitigation – much centred around the new station sites in Birmingham, Euston and Old Oak Common.
The project has not been without controversy; many trees planted along the HS2 route have to be replaced, it has emerged.
Elsewhere, the land and property acquisitions have faced criticism.
These issues must be resolved if the scheme is to be a true success.