HS2: Northamptonshire County Council to hire expert

The Birmingham and Fazeley viaduct, part of the proposed route for the HS2 high-speed rail scheme Image copyright PA
Image caption The £50bn HS2 scheme aims to to run trains at 225 mph (362km/h) from London to Birmingham from 2026

Northamptonshire County Council has agreed to spend up to £100,000 to hire a parliamentary specialist to oppose the HS2 high-speed rail bill.

A report to the council's cabinet says scheme could cost the authority £6m in damage to its roads.

The route runs through part of south Northamptonshire.

A council spokesman said the authority supported HS2 in principle and had to oppose the parliamentary bill to lobby for changes to the bill.

He said the formal opposition of the bill was legally necessary to indicate that the county council wanted changes to the bill.

These changes are designed to assist those parishes and residents in the south-west of the county, which say they are adversely affected by the construction of HS2.

Michael Clarke, county council cabinet member for transport, said: "There's been a lot of talk about whether HS2 will bring benefits or not and we've heard opinions which are both positive and negative. However, the council wants to offer practical, relevant and useful support to those who will be affected in the south-west of the county."

On Tuesday, the cabinet agreed to petition parliament over HS2.

A report to the Conservative-run council says that the authority should employ a parliamentary agent to help petition parliament on the plans as specialist knowledge is needed. It says an agent would cost at least £20,000 but could cost up to £100,000.

If the cabinet backs petitioning parliament over the bill, the decision will go to the full council at a later date for final approval.

The HS2 scheme aims to run trains at 225 mph (362km/h) from London to Birmingham from 2026.

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