CAMPAIGNERS have welcomed a report by the Commons’ Transport Select Committee (TSC) on HS2 which they say tells the Government to ‘do it properly, not quickly.’
This week those opposed to the £32 billion high speed rail link, which could speed through the Advertiser and Review region, said the report echoes their fears that the Government was placing a greater priority on record breaking speeds than the environmental impact of the scheme. Joe Rukin of the Oxon campaign group VoxOpp said the report recommends the Government view HS2 in the wider context of an integrated transport policy, and that it should not proceed until one is developed.
Mr Rukin said the long awaited report asked searching questions of the Government, including whether HS2 was affordable. The report also raises significant questions about the ability of HS2 to provide 18 trains per hour, and concluded that claims of substantial carbon-reduction benefits did not stand up to scrutiny. Mr Rukin said the report called for clarity on the environmental impacts, connections to Heathrow and the justification for the proposed route before going further with the proposals.
He added: “This report is absolutely scathing in its list of work that still needs doing in terms of planning and appraising HS2 before deciding to proceed, and shows there are many unanswered questions.”
Mr Rukin backed the reports call for the Government to publish the evidence which proves it can afford HS2 while investing in the wider network and added: “The entire business case for HS2 is propped up by the voodoo economics principle of actually working out a cash value for ‘time is money,’ something the committee state is disappointing.”
Penny Gaines, chairman of Stop HS2 also called for more information and added: “The TSC lists a number of major areas where the Government’s case for high speed rail as currently proposed falls down. These are not minor niggles, but huge policy areas.”