The Transport Select Committee’s press release yesterday said that there was a “good case for a high speed rail network, linking London and the major cities of the Midlands, the North and Scotland”.
However they were blunt in their criticisms of the HS2 Ltd’s proposals in their current form.
The report says that there are a “number of areas” which need to be addressed by the Government.
123. Many issues about the Government’s proposal for HS2 and about high-speed rail in general have been raised in the course of our inquiry. We have pointed to a number of areas that we believe need to be addressed by the Government in the course of progressing HS2. These include the provision of greater clarity on the policy context, the assessment of alternatives, the financial and economic case, the environmental impacts, connections to Heathrow and the justification for the particular route being proposed.
So just what areas does the Committee say need to be addressed?
- greater clarity on the policy context,
- the assessment of alternatives,
- the financial case,
- the economic case,
- the environmental impacts,
- connections to Heathrow
- and the justification for the particular route being proposed.
These aren’t niggles about minor details. These are major questions about the very basic assumptions used by HS2 Ltd when drawing up their proposals.
In addition, the Transport Select Committee said
120. We are clear that the case for HS2 depends on completion of the Y network—London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. In the longer term, we believe it should be expanded to include Scotland, Wales and other parts of the UK.
Answering all these points properly – especially when combined with the committee’s questioning of the proposed speed and the use of time savings to justify the line – means that a rational decision on high speed rail would say the current proposals from HS2 Ltd are a bad project for the nation.
The whole HS2 Ltd proposal needs to be torn up.
PS Justine Greening will be making a statement to MPs about HS2 on 21st November. We will be having a Lobby Day on the 28th November. Please write or email your MP – perhaps copying in Justine Greening - with your concerns about HS2 and ask them if they are going to go to these events. A tool to help you can be found at http://www.highspeedrail.org.uk/.