According to a highly critical report prepared by Wendover HS2 Action Group, HS2 Ltd, the Government-owned company charged with justifying the proposed new high-speed railway from London Euston to Birmingham, has seriously misled Ministers, Parliament and the public by:
Underestimating construction and renewal costs
HS2 Ltd states that the construction and renewal costs would amount to £17.85bn but they have used figures based on 2009 costs. The real cash cost would be 40% higher at £24.55bn and could be as high as £34.7bn, if Treasury guidelines for inflation were used.
Substantially overestimating passenger demand forecasts
By claiming non-HS2 passengers as HS2 passengers, new demand forecasts are substantially over-estimated by up to 92%.
Inflating non-cash indirect benefits
Estimates of non-cash indirect benefits are inflated by at least 45%.
Failing to clarify Regional economic imbalance
HS2 Ltd fails to make clear that 84.7% of HS2’s economic benefits would go to London, the South-East and Birmingham. Rather than benefitting, Scotland would see its economy shrink by £220m.
Using contradictory air travel predictions
HS2 Ltd claims that HS2 would save 90 flights per day yet the proposal states that only 1000 people per day would use HS2 to access Heathrow.
Ignoring the immense environmental damage
HS2 could increase total annual UK transport emissions by at least 0.3%; HS2 could not therefore be carbon neutral as is claimed.