Latest Rail News

12.04.12

HS2 benefits revised down

The economic benefits of HS2 have been revised down again, it has been revealed.

The London-Birmingham phase of the project was originally forecast to bring £2.40 of benefit for every £1 invested. The revised benefit-cost ratio is now 1.2:1.

The full route from London to Manchester and Leeds now has a benefit-cost ratio of between 1.5:1 and 1.9:1.

The business case for the £33bn network has long been challenged by protesters. HS2 Action Alliance and the 51m group have both launched judicial reviews of the Government’s decision to proceed with the project.

Martin Tett, leader of the 51m group said: “It proves fundamentally that we were right all along. We’ve argued all along that this is not a nimby objection but an economic argument for the entire country. This is a catastrophically poor return at a time of austerity and this project needs to be reconsidered urgently by the Government.

“People who live near a route will be more concerned than those that don’t. But that doesn’t make their objections any less valid.”

The Department for Transport insisted the measurements did not reflect the wider economic benefits.

A spokesman said: “HS2 is a project that will deliver jobs and prosperity across the entire country. Network Rail predicts that the current west coast main line will be full by the mid 2020s, and has concluded that building a new line is the best option – with HS2 delivering four pounds of benefit for every additional pound spent compared to a new conventional-speed line.

“We have always been clear that the BCR can only form one part of the decision-making process for a project of this scale, as its benefits reach well beyond narrow transport economics.”

Tell us what you think at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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