There has been discussion of what flood defences should be built and where, and what they will costs. What has surprised many people is that although the official benefit-cost-ratio (BCR) for HS2 is between 1.4 and 2.3 (depending on whether Phase 2 or wider economic benefits are included), the Environment Agency will not build flood defences with a BCR of less than 8.
There are also increasing calls from people in the South West to “forget HS2, West wants GW2”. These include from MPs such as Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw, the local papers, and individuals. A new ‘GW2’ line would cost considerably less than HS2, allowing increased spending for flood defences across the country.
There are clearly a number of issues that would have to be resolved before any new railway should go ahead, and this includes for the South West. These include decisions about which route and what stations, the details of the route and what will happen to the Dawlish line, and the properties which rely on the sea defences that currently protect both the line and the houses next to it.
In particular we do not want people and communities in the South West to be treated with the disdain that HS2 Ltd shows towards people affected by the HS2 proposal.