‘The next government must review project’
CAMPAIGNERS against HS2 have been boosted after a report from the House of Lords said the government has not made a convincing case for the project.
The House of Lords economic affairs select committee released the report yesterday (Wednesday), which finds a complete review of the scheme should be undertaken by any incoming government at the first opportunity, and that permission for the first phase of the project to be started, between London and the Midlands, should not be given until questions have been answered.
Among the main points raised include that the cost benefit analysis on the project relies on out of date evidence, dating back to 1994; that the government is overburdening the taxpayer at a time of financial restraint by expecting them to cover £31.5bn of the cost of the project; the cost per mile of building HS2 is up to nine times higher than in countries with similar lines; and that HS2 Ltd has not made public information on how busy train services would be and that no price has been placed on how possible alternative improvements would create, therefore finding there is no convincing evidence to warrant the claim HS2 is needed.
The news has been welcomed by protesters who have fought the project since the start.
Martin Tett, chairman of 51m, the alliance of local authorities united against HS2, and which gave evidence to the committee, said: “This report totally vindicates everything we have said from the outset. The next government and HS2 Ltd must go back to the drawing board and rethink the entire project. It’s too costly, and the consequences of getting it wrong are too far reaching not to take this last opportunity to act in the best interests of the country. “