IoD members unsure about HS2

18th November 2011 IoD members unsure about HS2

  • Improvements to existing intercity and commuter lines more important than HS2, say directors
  • Directors concerned about value for money
  • Larger proportions think that airport capacity increases would improve their productivity

A new comprehensive survey of over 1,200 IoD members reveals that HS2 is a long way down the list of business transport priorities, with a significant number thinking that a new high speed line would represent poor value for money.  The survey, which asked directors for their priorities for new investment as well as their views on the current state of Britain’s transport infrastructure, also reveals that business leaders think that improvements to existing roads are more important than new roads.

Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“Good transport infrastructure is crucial to IoD members up and down the country.  Businesses are not happy with the current state of the UK’s infrastructure, but our survey of IoD members shows that directors want to see improvements to existing roads and rail services above all.  In straightened times, choices will have to be made between some improvements to existing rail lines and a new high speed line, and we want to see the Government take the business view seriously.”

He added:

“IoD members are enthusiastic about airport capacity expansion, but the planning system has held back development.  We need to see bold and financially sound decisions made about upgrading our congested networks.”

The key findings of the survey include:

  • 86% think that investment in congested urban roads is important to their business, while 83% think that improvements to existing motorways are important.  By comparison, 49% think that new motorways, and 37% new local roads, are important.
  • 79% think that investment in improving existing intercity services is important to their business, compared with 54% who think that high speed rail investment is important.
  • 38% think that the public spending required to build HS2 would represent poor value for money, compared with 30% who think it would represent good value.
  • 48% think that increases in airport capacity outside London and the South East would have a positive impact on the productivity of their business; 40% think the same for increased airport capacity in London and the South East, and just 23% agree that a new high speed rail line between Birmingham and London would improve their productivity.
  • IoD members are not happy with the current state of the UK’s transport infrastructure.  82% think that UK roads are too congested, while 61% think that intercity rail fares are poor value for money.
  • 76% think that the planning system has had a negative impact on the speed and ease of completing infrastructure projects over the past decade.
  • The IoD conducted a Policy Voice poll of 1,245 members in August 2011.  Directors were asked for their views on the existing state of the UK’s transport infrastructure and their priorities for new investment.

The full survey report can be found at:

The original release can be found here: