Britain’s HS2 project has been given the green light to start construction work.
The Government has said “phase one” companies can start work on the controversial high-speed rail link.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had already given the “thumbs-up” to the scheme despite it being billions of pounds over budget.
HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “While the Government’s top priority is rightly to combat the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives, we cannot delay work on our long-term plan to level up the country.
“HS2 will be the spine of the country’s transport network, boosting capacity and connectivity while also re-balancing opportunity fairly across our towns and cities.
“Following the decision earlier this year to proceed with the project, this next step provides thousands of construction workers and businesses across the country with certainty at a time when they need it, and means that work can truly begin on delivering this transformational project.”
HS2 Ltd chief executive Mark Thurston said:
“In these difficult times, today’s announcement represents both an immediate boost to the construction industry – and the many millions of UK jobs that the industry supports – and an important investment in Britain’s future: levelling up the country, improving our transport network and changing the way we travel.”