Shapps demands data over HS2
Secretary for transport, Grant Shapps, has demanded more information regarding plans for HS2, following estimates of the cost of the project rising to £106 billion.
Shapps informed Sky News that the decision whether or not to continue with the project "needs to be fact-based".
Doug Oakervee, the author of the report leaked to the Financial Times, was asked by Shapps to “give me the facts, give me the data, give us the information so we can make a proper informed decision."
The report suggested that the cost of the project could rise by an additional 20 per cent, seeing the overall cost almost double from the expected cost of £56 billion as of 2015.
This announcement follows the government’s previous promise of making a decision on the project by the end of last year.
Among suggestions included in the report was a recommendation that the second phase of the project was delayed in order to allow for conventional lines to be considered to link Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds.
Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, voiced his opinion on the financial situation of the project, stating “to me that would be the same old story. London to Birmingham, money is no object, and then all the penny pinching is done in the North of England."
Lord Berkeley, a critic of HS2, opposed this, voicing his belief that : "I suspect that most of the people who like to use the trains around Manchester and Leeds would rather have a really good commuter service just like there is in London, rather than get to London half an hour quicker."
The first phase of the project is expected to open at the end of 2026 and will link London and Birmingham. Leeds to Manchester ought to be linked by 2033.
Costing £250 million a month, the project continues at present.