Campaigners say the Government should “pull the plug” on HS2

Stop HS2 react to a version of the Oakervee review, leaked to the Financial Times, saying the Government should “pull the plug” on the scheme.

The document confirms that the project is likely to cost £106bn and recommends a six month pause to assess whether Phase 2 should go ahead in its current proposed form. While the document, written by a former chair of HS2 Ltd, recommends Phase 1 “on balance” should go ahead, it also says there are “a number of qualifications”. In addition the report says it is “hard” to say what economic benefits there will be from building HS2.

In the last few days, Grant Shapps has confirmed that the decision will be in the next few weeks. On Friday Shapps said the decision on whether to go ahead with HS2 will be “Weeks not days” and on Monday he said “Weeks not months”.

Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2, said
“We’ve said for a long time that there are massive problems with and within HS2 Ltd, and even the Oakervee review, led by a former chair of HS2 Ltd can’t brush them all under the carpet. HS2 was supposed to solve the north south divide, but they don’t know if it will, it will need massive further investment in other transport to make it work, and is now expected to cost three times the original budget. The timescale for building it is long bust and the expected timetable will only run far fewer trains than originally proposed.

“Rather than tinkering with the proposals, the Government should pull the plug on the scheme and cancel HS2 in its entirety immediately.

“At the very least they should halt all HS2 enabling works immediately, pay for all the homes and businesses they have already taken and stop the huge environmental wrecking ball that it currently going on.”

Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said

“It has been absolutely clear from the outset that HS2 is an unaffordable white elephant that has only got this far because it’s been lobbied for by those with a vested interest in building it, and those idiot politicians who have fallen for their spin and like petulant children keep demanding that it’s not ‘either or’, and that they want everything and the want it now. It has always been the case that more benefits can be delivered to more people, more quickly, more sustainably, for less money by investing in local transport infrastructure. But if HS2 goes ahead it will suck up the entire transport infrastructure budget for decades come with a massive carbon cost, so there is a small window of opportunity right now to make the informed choice and cancel HS2.”

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