Construction work on HS2 will blight lives for 17 years

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Construction work on a long-awaited high-speed rail project will cast a shadow over the lives of some residents for 17 years, an MP has claimed.

Labour MP Sir Keir Starmer said the HS2 rail project, which is set to run through South Yorkshire, would have a 'devastating impact' on thousands of people living near construction sites, citing concerns that construction lorries and increased traffic would wreak havoc on the roads

His comments came as MPs were debating amendments from the House of Lords on the High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill, which has already undergone more than three years of parliamentary scrutiny.

The first phase of HS2 would allow trains to travel at high speed from London to Birmingham from 2026, with a further phase taking in Manchester, East Midlands and South Yorkshire.

Sir Keir told the Commons: "The traffic and lorry movements have particular relevance in Holborn and St Pancras, and in Camden where as the Lords Select Committee on HS2 recognised, Camden residents faced disruption - and I quote them - on an unprecedented scale both in intensity and duration from the HS2 construction works that will continue over a period of no less than 17 years, so far as my constituents are concerned."

London residents who are affected should be offered the same levels of compensation as people who live in rural areas, he told MPs.

The shadow Brexit secretary said: "It's that traffic, it's the lorry movements, it's the construction which will go on for such a long period that its going to have such a profound impact.

"It can be demonstrated by virtue of the fact that anybody in Holborn and Pancras having a child this year or next, faces the prospect that that child will grow up with construction works for pretty well the whole of its childhood.

"Equally anyone retiring this year or next will probably spend their retirement during the period of construction works."

Transport minister Andrew Jones said Sir Keir's comments had been 'firmly heard'.