Numerous people have been looking closely at the documents released by the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd, in an attempt to bolster the case for HS2.
Tomorrow, MPs will debate the High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill, so please let them know what you think about Hs2 before hand. You can use the tool here, to make it easy to email them.
Headline points about the new HS2 case:
- The Benefit Cost Ratio for Phase 2 includes numerous new dodgy assumptions, but has still fallen to 2.3, down from 2.5 in the previous case.
- It dismisses alternatives, essentially on the grounds “they aren’t high speed rail”.
- Many of the so-called benefits are still based on assumptions about (not) working on trains. The value of a business travellors time has fallen, but the new case assumes that a greater number of passengers on HS2 will be travelling for business.
- It assumes HS2 train fares will be the same as conventional speed fares, even though it assesses the benefits to HS2 on the assumption that businesses pay more for faster journeys.
- It includes scare stories of weekend engineering works to existing railways if HS2 does not go ahead, but ignores the huge disruption to rail passengers from building HS2, as well as any other maintenance and improvements that will be happening anyway. Building HS2 will involve massive disruption to the road and motorway network, but this has been glossed over, in the effort to sell HS2.
- It refers to the discredited KPMG report, published in September but neglects to mention this report was based on the August 2012 HS2 economic case, and includes the Heathrow link. It neglects to mention that KPMG found many areas would suffer if HS2 was built, ranging from Cardiff to Cornwall, and Aberdeen to Brighton.
For more details see the following articles by journalists and economists, showing that even with the latest business case, more and more people are seeing through the HS2 spin:
Channel 4: Fact Check: is HS2 value for money?
LSE blogs: Henry Overman: The Strategic Case for HS2
City AM: HS2 benefits downgraded again
The Guardian: HS2 figures threaten to derail DfT’s business strategy