Written Answers – No Robust Numbers

Parliamentary Written Answers to Questions, Tuesday 18 June 2013

Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the rate of growth in the number of rail passengers travelling into major UK cities over the last (a) 10 and (b) 20 years. [160089]

Mr Simon Burns: No robust estimate of the rate of growth in the number of rail passengers travelling into major UK cities over the last (a) 10 and (b) 20 years is readily available.

Stop HS2 says:

On numerous occasions, Government ministers and others have said that a fundamental reason for building HS2 is that the railways, especially the West Coast Main Line, are about to run out of capacity.

However, if they do not know how and where passenger numbers have been growing, they can not make forecasts about future growth with any accuracy.

HS2 is a high risk project, because the whole of Phase 1 needs to be built before any new capacity is available. That means a wait of at least thirteen years, and spend of more than £17 billion – but if the Department for Transport does not have even a “robust estimate of the rate of growth” then they may have picked the wrong strategy.

A package of smaller schemes can also release capacity, both regionally and nationally, with each part of the work providing extra capacity as it is finished.

Using a package of improvements is much less risky. If it turns out the growth forecasts were wrong – because there was no “robust” data to base them on – than the package can be changed and re-targeted.

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6 comments to “Written Answers – No Robust Numbers”
  1. 3rd request for mps if your own watch dog doubts hs2 and your snr minster says the govenment can not be waisting tax payers taxes ,and so meany top people are against hs2 how can you think of voteing on Wednesday. To give the transport dept a blank cheque to continue with this project and waist more billions on something the country can not afford just think about it when all your departments are asked to cut there budgets on our services you can’t vote for something we can all live with out .threre are far more pressing things we could be doing for the country like building more homes ,broadband for all repairing and investing in our roads just think about it and let’s. have something now not in 30 yrs. time which could be a total waist of money with times changing so quickly in 30yrs cars driving them selves video convincing and the rest of change can you gamble on old transport like trains?

  2. Our MPs always seem to be the last to know. HS2 is turning into a disastrous PR exercise for them. When will they ever learn? When will they stop digging?

  3. 2nd request for mps if the transport minister as not a clue about future passenger numbers how can you vote on giving them a blank cheque on wenesday to spend billions on hs2 when all other depts. are asked to cut cut there budgets on our services so when that dept can prove we need hs2 put a stop to it now before we waist billions more pounds on something that is a gamble in these hard times for us all

  4. The key HS2 questions are rising management cost of HS2 in the next 1/2 years and the wrong design and wrong location.
    The HS2 corridor land and properties are 10% in deficit to 2008 prices. The MPs system with three leaders for the indulgence with a majority coalition is an abuse of process in Parliament. In any other situation there will be intervention. The public intervention was ignored in the main in 2011/12. The Draft ES is being processed without plan LIDAR images for the public to compare the reality to the maps. This will be another abused process of an unaccountable hybrid bill for urban settings not one where there is no recourse to moderation of commonsense. The Legal cases were an attempt to try the judicial fairness but this is not avialable in the process development period. The Command Paper of 2010 without scrutiny has been used to trigger a runaway expenditure of up to £3B per year and the HMT Chancellor can afford now only £3B in circa £200B for three sectors each of circa £1B. Abuse of process by group thinking MPs does not appear democracy to many people in the UK for a single indulgent parallel faster but one line each way track. What failed the UK with decision making override from 650 MPs many who have inadequate understanding of capital project evaluations or transport planning. Not the nation for the 21st Century asserting democracy in other strife zones. The new flock went wrong this time.

  5. Not surprising, Simon Burns simply doesn’t have a clue what is going on. Remember he is the guy who “didn’t recognise” the £ 3.3 bn shortfall highlighted by the National Audit Office on existing budgets — just up to 2021. That is a shortfall between his own department’s funding and his own department’s capex plans.

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