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Arlen Pettitt, policy adviser, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “It’s great news that the plans for HS2 are continuing to move forward, and especially that some parts of the line are seeing their development accelerated.

“Confirmation of the route as far as Leeds on the Eastern leg will mean local planning can start in earnest on this stretch of the line, with HS2 as the catalyst for local infrastructure investment.  We now need confirmation of the route beyond Leeds, into the North East to Darlington, Durham and Newcastle so local work can gather pace in our region too.  This will mean our economy gets the maximum boost  as soon as possible.

“With North East England’s expertise in rail, we’re well placed to benefit now contracts have been awarded for construction of HS2 Phase One from London to Birmingham. Many of the contractors have a strong presence in the region, and even more firms will be involved as part of the supply chain. We look forward to working with the Department for Transport, HS2 Ltd and the main contractors to help realise the opportunity this will offer the regional economy.”