‘The next gov­ern­ment must re­view project’

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

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Among the main points raised in­clude that the cost ben­e­fit anal­y­sis on the project re­lies on out of date ev­i­dence, dat­ing back to 1994; that the gov­ern­ment is over­bur­den­ing the tax­payer at a time of fi­nan­cial re­straint by ex­pect­ing them to cover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. “

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