The opposition to HS2 is spreading.
An article on Conservative Home says that the future is in alternative technologies, ranging from the Internet to self-drive cars, and that if built “HS2 will look dated the day it opens; the Luddite Express, a vast vanity project, the Millennium Dome of the 2010’s”.
Also this morning, the Institute of Economic Affairs have released a document looking in depth at HS2. They say that policymakers in favour of HS2 are making their case on the basis of bogus assumptions. Some of the points they raise include:
- Huge government subsidies on the existing rail network mean that prices and demand levels are severely distorted.
- Estimates made by the government of demand growth are very optimistic. The long timescale involved also adds to the uncertainty.
- The effect of competition from other rail lines has been ignored when projecting future HS2 ticket prices and passenger numbers. Lower prices would make the project even less viable.
- The project has been ‘gold-plated’, leading to grossly wasteful allocation of resources. The first five miles of the route, from Euston to Old Oak Common, for example, will add almost 25% (c. £4 billion) to the cost of the first phase but deliver negligible time savings.
- Significant environmental and social costs are not included in the assessment of the economic case, with several areas likely to be affected by ‘planning blight’.
You can download the report from their website.
Both of these are worth a read, as they both have lots of new ideas to consider.