On 11th February 202o the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, responded to a Government statement on transport infrastructure, including the decision to give the go ahead to the High Speed Two rail link:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, perhaps we might return to the north-east. The noble Lord, Lord Shipley, and I, along with many others, have argued previously that this infrastructure should have begun in the north and the south at the same time. In the review, can we please ensure that we are working not just south to north but north to south? This would help speed up the process. Can the Minister also answer a question on the production of the trains and the carriages? Companies such as Hitachi and Bombardier have been mentioned. Are the contracts going to be given out in Britain?
Baroness Vere of Norbiton: The right reverend Prelate refers to an issue that is raised fairly frequently. I think that we can all agree that phase 1 will go ahead straightaway because enabling works have already taken place. Part of the integrated plan for rail will look at ways of getting the benefits of this new railway more quickly, and it may be—I am not prejudging this at all—that construction starts in several places at once, as well as at different points, in order that it can join up. To me that seems quite sensible, but I am sure that someone technical will tell me that it is not. However, it is our ambition to get the benefits more quickly and to keep the costs as low as possible. We will certainly look at all the eventualities when it comes to that part of the railway.
On the construction of the rolling stock, this does not need to be considered for some time yet. Of course it would be very good if the trains were built in Britain, but I happen to know that the HS1 trains were built in Japan and that they function very well. But, again, we cannot prejudge that and it will be some time before that contract is awarded