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HS2 update: Treasury Committee calls for review of the economic case

The Treasury Select Committee has stated that the economic case for HS2 must be reassessed and updated before the Treasury signs off on the project. In its Latest Spending Round 2013 review the Committee said that, given the recent report by KPMG and published by HS2 Ltd setting out the regional economic impacts, the Treasury must produce its own economic case for HS2. The Committee wrote: The Treasury should not allow HS2 to proceed until it is sure the cost-benefit analysis for […]

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New report: HS2 alternatives from the 51m Alliance

The 51m Alliance of nineteen local authorities opposed to HS2 (including Bucks County Council) have recently launched their ‘Alternative Investment Strategy’. It challenges the current DfT rationale of ‘capacity’ being the main reason for HS2 and proposes a comprehensive package of national investment in infrastructure to rebalance the nation’s economy. In its executive summary, 51M Alliance said: The local authorities in 51m are fully committed to investing in key infrastructure critical for the country’s future success. 51m has already set out […]

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HS2 update

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Earlier today, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee released its latest report on the early programme preparation of High Speed Rail 2. The report draws into sharp focus the spiraling costs of the programme and the weak case for it: The Department for Transport has not yet presented a convincing case for the now £42.6 billion investment it is proposing to invest in High Speed 2. The estimates of costs and benefits are still far from finalised and the pattern so far […]

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HS2 – a study in why politicians make bad choices

Yesterday, a number of us voted against the preparatory bill for High Speed 2. I remain opposed for the reasons I have given. As if the economic case were not weak enough already, yesterday another £10 billion was added to the cost: Patrick McLoughlin said that the projected cost has risen from £33billion to £42.6billion because of a significant “contingency” fund to cover the cost of potential problems with the programme. This excludes the cost of the rolling stock, billions […]

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Bucks County pledge extra £3m on local road repairs

The Conservative-run County Council has announced a one-off £3 million addition to this year’s £25m budget for road maintenance in Buckinghamshire. Many people have voiced their concern over the state of Wycombe’s roads. This move by the County Council should start to improve matters. As a frequent road user in Wycombe and the wider Buckinghamshire area, both by car and on my motorcycle, I look forward to the prospective improvements. While these additional funds will help to reduce the backlog […]

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M40 noise – no wonder people worry about HS2

Beth and I had the opportunity for an early walk this morning from West Wycombe to Lane End. The Chilterns were stunning, but we were reminded how intrusive M40 noise can be. This video gives an indication. The M40 Chiltern Environmental Group represent residents on this issue. The M40 emerged from our bypass so, unfortunately, it runs too close to too many homes. I’m reminded to pick the issue up once again and that, with this experience, it’s no wonder people worry […]

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Cheryl Gillan MP: After the West Coast Main Line trouble, the case for HS2 needs to be fundamentally re-examined Comment

The decision earlier this week by the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, to scrap the West Coast Main Line contract has brought into question the overall integrity of the Department for Transport’s decision-making process. With this in mind, I believe that a root and branch re-examination of the whole of the High Speed 2 rail project and its viability is now essential. Read more via Cheryl Gillan MP: After the West Coast Main Line trouble, the case for HS2 needs to […]

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HS2: Update

I have continuously campaigned against a second state-funded high speed rail programme. It is slowly transpiring that the business case is collapsing. The benefit cost ratio (BCR) for phase 1 has fallen from 2.4 in March 2010 to just 1.2 today and 1.4 for the whole of the Y spur extension. A fifth downgrade is expected to be released in the summer incorporating the new, lower GDP figures. How low do the figures need to go until policy makers understand […]

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Justine Greening must review HS2 in the public interest

I’m grateful to StopHS2 for drawing my attention to this video of the Public Accounts Committee hearing at which it was revealed HS2 has a Cabinet Office Major Projects Authority status of red/amber: As The Guardian reported: The latest figures issued by the HS2 high-speed rail scheme have revised down the economic benefits for the fourth time – suggesting the scheme will barely, if ever, break even. Originally the scheme was forecast to bring £2.40 of benefit for every pound […]

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Rail: did we win the Cold War then suffer a Communist takeover?

I had a series of exchanges recently at the Transport Committee on the subject of rail regulation which illustrated how far economic regulation has drifted from economic reality. The transcript is here. The Chief Executive of Network Rail appears not to appreciate the role of price and freedom to contract, or at least he is prepared to submit to the Office of Rail Regulation’s subversion of those mechanisms: Q39 Steve Baker: Sir David, you talked about trade-offs, the fight for […]

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