Before the government is plans to spend £33 billion – or more – on a single project, it should really ensure that the project is likely to achieve it’s aims.
Yesterday, in Parliament, the Queen said
“My Government will continue to invest in infrastructure to deliver jobs and growth for the economy. Legislation will be introduced to enable the building of the ‘High Speed Two’ railway line, providing further opportunities for economic growth in many of Britain’s cities.”
However, HS2 will do the opposite. On Sunday, the Telegraph reported on a number of large job creation projects that have been put on hold because of HS2.
These plans include two large developments in London. Segro got planning permission to redevelop the old Guinness brewery site at Park Royal, but HS2 have now put in a ‘safeguarding order’ as they want to use the site to store materials.
Derwent London are unable to progress with a scheme near Euston: meanwhile HS2 Ltd have cancelled plans to redevelop Euston, when they realised it would take at least two years longer than they expected, and cost £500 million more.
Stop HS2 have been reporting on the Washwood Heath site in Birmingham since 2011. Birmingham MPs say the site could be used now for a scheme that will employ 7000 people and are fighting plans to use it for a HS2 maintenance yard which might employ 300 people in 2026.
HS2 is not just costing jobs now: it is highly likely that HS2 will increase regional disparity and suck jobs to London.
Newsnight, this week reported on the high speed rail line from Seville to Madrid and pointed out that it had not reduced regional disparities. Professor John Tomaney pointed out that capital cities gain the most from high speed rail.
Just like we’ve been reporting on the cost to jobs now, Stop HS2 have also frequently raised the issue that HS2 will make the regions worse off: for example Lessons from Spain and What is the regional impact of HS2 likely to be?.
And today, the Times reports that the Major Projects Authority has given HS2 a red rating: meaning it needs changes to get it through on time and to budget.
HS2: over budget and behind schedule, years before construction is due to start.