THE government has given formal approval for construction work on the HS2 rail project to begin despite lockdown measures.
Construction firms involved in phase one of the high-speed rail project will need to follow social distancing rules.
HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson said: “We cannot delay work on our long-term plan to level up the country.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson approved the decision to build the rail link in February after a review into its cost.
The government’s official report previously warned that the project could cost more than £100bn and be up to five years behind schedule.
On Tuesday Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned that the coronavirus pandemic “will have serious implications for the UK economy”.
HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson said: “This next step provides thousands of construction workers and businesses across the country with certainty at a time when they need it.”
A notice to proceed has been given to four joint ventures, which will start work immediately, according to a statement by the Department for Transport.
The announcement was welcomed by the boss of the Construction Industry Council, Graham Watts. “The notice to proceed with HS2 is welcome at this time, particularly for the benefit of the economy,” he said.