Government review: HS2 should go ahead
A draft copy of a government review into the viability of HS2 has stated that despite the rising costs, the proposed railway should be built.
HS2 is designed to link 21 locations around the country, specifically linking London and northern cities, on a mix of classic and high speed track.
It is predicted that, if completed, passengers could travel from Manchester to London in one hour and seven minutes, a full hour faster than current times.
The full government review into the project is due to be published after the election and predicted that the cost of HS2 may rise even further beyond the current price of £88 billion.
Members of the panel responsible for the review have said that the draft recommends a few alterations to existing plans which would need to be made if the project were to go ahead. These include reducing the number of trains per hour from 18 to 14.
However, the review’s deputy chair, Lord Berkeley, has spoken against the findings of the draft and stated that he will “reserve the right to publish my own alternative report in due course.”
Berkeley wrote to Doug Oakervee, the chairman of the review, criticising the draft of the review: “I cannot support its conclusions or recommendations.
“My concerns are about the process of the report’s preparation and its outcome. We had to complete the work in a very short time. I also detected a trend in many of the discussions within the review to accept that HS2 will go ahead…rather than look at the pros and cons of alternative options.”
In common with most of the discussion surrounding HS2, reaction has been mixed.
Penny Gaines, the chairwoman of the Stop HS2 campaign, said the project “should be cancelled as soon as possible, so the government can focus on the real transport priorities.”
On the other side, Henri Murrison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said that HS2 has “the potential to unlock greater growth in the North and Midlands” and argued it was welcome that the government’s review “mirrored” the Northern Powerhouse’s own findings.