High Speed Rail Decision Delayed

4 December 2011, 13:00 | Updated: 5 December 2011, 13:06

A decision on whether to build a new rail line between London and Birmingham won't now be made until 2012.

The government had been expected to say yes or no to the High Speed Two project during December 2011, but new Transport Secretary Justine Greening has asked for more information about the project.

There are particular concerns over plans to spend £500m on a tunnel under the picturesque Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire.

Under the plans, High Speed Two will take passengers from London Euston to Birmingham on trains travelling at up to 250mph.  The line is due to pass close to places like Amersham, Aylesbury and Finmere in Buckinghamshire, and Brackley in Northamptonshire.

Supporters claim the new line will ease congestion and passenger numbers on the crowded West Coast Main Line, which serves places like Milton Keynes, Leighton Buzzard and Watford Junction.  The government say our economy needs it, but critics are unhappy about the £30bn cost and question whether High Speed Two is really needed at all.