The government has sent a defiant message to campaign groups, announcing the appointment of a new director general to oversee the delivery of HS2.
Opponents of the £34 billion project are at the High Court this week seeking to block the government’s high-speed plans on the grounds that they’re based on a flawed business case.
David Prout, who is currently director general at the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), will take up the new role at the start of next year.
The proposed high-speed network would connect Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield with the capital, cutting journey times between Birmingham and London by an average of 35 minutes.
Philip Rutnam, Department for Transport Permanent Secretary, said: “HS2 is a hugely important programme for the future of the UK.
“I am very pleased that David Prout will be taking charge at such an exciting time. He will be leading a team which is already hard at work delivering this project, as well as liaising closely with HS2 Ltd, as we work together to introduce the legislation into parliament on time next year that will make HS2 a reality.”
David Prout said: “Making HS2 a reality is absolutely crucial to our country’s future prosperity and I am very pleased to have been asked to take leadership of this much-needed programme at this time.
“I look forward to helping to take the project through parliament and continuing to demonstrate the very real need for more capacity for people and freight on our railways, which will help make Britain a more prosperous and less congested country.”