Further calls to scrap HS2 as costs spiral according to report leak - The Leamington Observer

Further calls to scrap HS2 as costs spiral according to report leak

Ian Hughes 20th Jan, 2020 Updated: 21st Jan, 2020   0

STOP HS2 campaigners have again called for the controversial project to be scrapped amid spiralling costs.

The Financial Times (FT) has reported on a leaked version of the Oakervee review, the government’s official review into the project, which indicates the cost of the high rail speed line could reach £106billion – a substantial increase on the £81bn to £88bn estimated range published last September.

The FT also reports the review only gives ‘lukewarm’ backing to the project and that it also recommends work on the second stage of the project from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds be paused for six months to allow further study into whether it could comprise a mix of standard and high speed lines.

Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2, said: “We’ve said for a long time that there are massive problems with and within HS2 Ltd, and even the Oakervee review, led by a former chair of HS2 Ltd can’t brush them all under the carpet.

“HS2 was supposed to solve the north south divide, but they don’t know if it will, it will need massive further investment in other transport to make it work, and is now expected to cost three times the original budget.

“The timescale for building it is long bust and the expected timetable will only run far fewer trains than originally proposed.

“Rather than tinkering with the proposals, the Government should pull the plug on the scheme and cancel HS2 in its entirety immediately.

“At the very least they should halt all HS2 enabling works immediately, pay for all the homes and businesses they have already taken and stop the huge environmental wrecking ball that it currently going on.”

The Department for Transport said a draft of the Oakervee Report had been delivered just before Christmas for the government to make a final decision on.

The first part of the line linking London and Birmingham includes 54km of track through the heart of Warwickshire. Campaigners are currently camped out in woodland in Cubbington and Kenilworth protecting trees from being chopped down as part of preliminary works on the line. If it gets the green-light major construction of the line is set to start in the spring. The first train services are scheduled to run from 2026.


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