CAMPAIGNERS fighting HS2 have called for a police investigation after claims the project would cost a further £30billion.
It has been reported Allan Cook, the new chairman of HS2 Ltd, has written to the Department for Transport saying the project could not be delivered within the official £55.7bn budget.
When the high speed line between London and Birmingham – 54km of which will cut through the heart of Warwickshire – was announced in 2010, the budget was £32.6bn. The latest reports claim the project was now likely to cost between £70bn and £85bn.
The Stop HS2 campaign has demanded a police investigation to see if fraud by abuse of position had taken place.
Stop HS2 campaign manager, and Kenilworth resident, Joe Rukin said: “A potential £30bn cost hike will be of no surprise to anyone who has witnessed this project lurch from one disaster to another, and whilst we are now talking about yet another cost over-run, this one is about what the whole thing was meant to cost back in 2010.
“We had been telling HS2 Ltd for years ground conditions would hike up the costs, but they chose not to do those surveys until the project had been passed. Worse than that, it seems that only after a decade of planning are they realising that building a railway for ultra-high speed trains costs more than building one for normal trains.
“It is beyond all credibility to imagine that a potential £30bn cost over-run has just appeared from nowhere in the eight months since Allan Cook took over. It is absolutely clear that people must have known about this.
“This project has to be abandoned immediately, and we believe it is time to call the police in to see if fraud by abuse of position has taken place.
“At the very least a full scale independent inquiry must now be called. It is no good for HS2 to simply be reviewed by this chairman, or as Boris Johnson has suggested its former chairman. HS2 must be properly and thoroughly investigated.”
An HS2 Ltd spokesperson said they did not comment on “leaks or speculation”.
They added: “We have previously noted that our chair, as you would expect, continues to scrutinise the programme, and regularly reports back to the department (for transport).
“We are determined to deliver a railway that rebalances the economy, creates jobs, boosts economic growth and is value for money for taxpayers.”