HS2 ACTION ALLIANCE RESPONDS TO COMMONS TRANSPORT COMMITTEE HS2 UPDATE.

HS2 ACTION ALLIANCE

NEWS

March 25, 2014.

 

HS2 ACTION ALLIANCE RESPONDS TO COMMONS TRANSPORT COMMITTEE HS2 UPDATE.

 

Responding to HS2 head Sir David Higgins’ and HS2 Taskforce chief Lord Deighton’s submission to the Commons Transport Committee, Richard Houghton of HS2 opposition group HS2 Action Alliance, said:

 

“The tone of the discussion and questioning was over bringing the regions closer to London, and whether regional towns and cities would be boosted by high speed rail. There was also some prickly comment from MPs about the government burying parts of a KPMG report which said that many areas of the country would lose millions because HS2 would divert jobs, business and wealth to other regions.

 

“This sums it up: reports are being buried or ignored that say London would be the main beneficiary of HS2. If HS2 was given the nod, then there would certainly be temporary local benefit through construction, but towns and cities demanding and then getting HS2 stations would be building their own brain-drain conduits to London.

 

“Lord Deighton, meanwhile, admitted that HS2 was a much harder sell than the Olympics because some areas will lose out, and Sir David admitted the South West won’t benefit from HS2.

 

“The much trumpeted Crewe interchange, which was centrepiece of last week’s report, is not included in the cost of HS2, and no cost analysis has been done for it. So where’s the money coming from?

 

“What’s more, the HS2 link to Heathrow has been dropped permanently, with Crossrail being positioned as a ‘that’ll do’. The case for the Heathrow link was previously described as compelling by the DfT. Crossrail 2 would be vital – but Sir David didn’t say that it isn’t included in cost of HS2 – and estimates for Crossrail 2 price it at around £14 billion.

 

“This all underpins HS2’s potential to become a commuter line into London from Birmingham. Neither Londoners nor London business are going to flock to the likes of Birmingham or Stoke or Sheffield. Currently eight times as many rail tickets are sold for Birmingham to London rail journeys as there are for London to Birmingham journeys.

 

“Sir David was talking complete nonsense about capacity and freight. FOI-obtained material relating to discussions between the Department for Transport, Network Rail and the train operators make it crystal clear that an immensely smaller investment in the West Coast Main Line would address any imagined capacity issue.

 

“We don’t feel the questioning was quite as robust and probing as it might have been. Sir David kicked any thought of a connection with Heathrow into the long grass, and he presented figures and claims which were accepted at face value, but which if examined in more depth would have revealed huge holes in his arguments.”

 

 

ENDS

 

For further information please contact:

 

John Read

07774 476391

john.read@readdillon.com

or

Iain Macauley

07788-978800

im@pressrelations.co.uk

http://www.hs2actionalliance.org/