BORIS Johnson has given HS2 the go-ahead, despite fears over its cost and impact on the environment.

The Prime Minister told the House of Commons today, Tuesday, that his Government had the 'guts to take the decision' to deliver prosperity across the country.

To avoid 'further blow outs' in HS2's cost or schedule, a series of measures will be taken to 'restore discipline to the programme', he said.

This will include appointing a minister whose full time job will be to oversee the project, and changes to the way HS2 is managed.

The announcement follows the completion of a Government-commissioned review by former HS2 Ltd chairman Douglas Oakervee into whether or not the programme should be scrapped.

Mr Johnson said: "The review recently conducted by Douglas Oakervee ... leaves no doubt of the clinching case for high-speed rail.

"A vast increase in capacity with hundreds of thousands of extra seats making it much easier for travellers to move up and down our long, narrow country.

Warrington Guardian: The proposed HS2 train and David Mowat MP

"And that means faster journey times, not just more capacity."

The route, taking trains from London to Birmingham and then Manchester and Leeds, is due to be completed by 2040.

Warrington South MP Andy Carter has been an opponent of the scheme saying it delivers little benefit but great disruption for Warrington.

Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols has backed the scheme saying it is vital for the north.

Phase 1 of HS2 will run between London and Birmingham.

A second, Y-shaped phase will launching in two stages: Phase 2a from Birmingham to Crewe, followed by Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester, and Birmingham to Leeds.

Mr Johnson said the Government will seek to identify where cost savings can be made in Phase 1 without carrying out a detailed redesign.

Before designs for Phase 2b are finalised and legislation is introduced, the Government will "introduce an integrated plan for rail in the North", he told MPs.

He added: "It will, in line with the findings of the Oakervee Review, look at how we can best design and integrate rail investments across the North including Northern Powerhouse Rail between Leeds and Manchester."

Henri Murison, Director of Northern Powerhouse Partnership said: “The North’s civic and business leaders have argued tirelessly that major infrastructure investment is so badly needed to provide the extra capacity urgently required on our rail network. 

"Creating a delivery vehicle to build High Speed North as an integrated high-speed network North to South and East to West, provides the best way to rebalance our national economy and secure the benefits of shared growth in turn, attracting investment in the shortest possible time.

“The Oakervee Review has set out how a process can begin swiftly for HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, to be best configured together with the wider existing network to create a joined up new and upgraded railway for the North – taking up the ambition of the Victorians and being as bold as they were. It is the only way we will create the capacity we need to unlock the benefits passengers on packed local trains, get freight off the roads and provide the connectivity which is a pre-requisite of closing the North – South divide for good.

“This a once-in-a-generation opportunity; to create a truly balanced Britain that works for everyone. Integrating HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail is the first step – a bold, decisive, forward-looking step that I am heartened the government has finally chosen to take as politicians across both major parties here in the North have campaigned with us for.”

“The stations on HS2 at Crewe and Manchester Airport, with the latter also linking into Northern Powerhouse Rail across to Liverpool and to the east to Bradford, Leeds and on to the North East, are economic enablers. There is also the potential to use this infrastructure to unlock housing in garden villages, as well as keeping fares down and unlocking capacity on the West Coast mainline for Warrington.”