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06.01.20

RIA responds to Lord Berkeley’s HS2 ‘minority’ review report

Former deputy chair of the Oakervee Review of the HS2 project, Lord Tony Berkeley, published a report yesterday (Jan 5) stating that parliament was ‘misled’ over ‘out of control’ costs that he believes could reach over £107bn.

Since withdrawing his backing from the review following disagreement of the draft, Lord Berkeley has released his own 70-page, independent review, citing concerns for the environment and value for taxpayer’s money.

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Railway Industry Association, has responded to the report:

“We acknowledge the views of former HS2 Review Vice Chair Lord Berkeley in his minority report published today, and await the main Oakervee Review of HS2, which we understand will be published shortly.

“Let us be clear: HS2 is vital for the UK as it seeks to boost its transport infrastructure for the whole country in the coming decades. It will provide much greater capacity by taking traffic off the current rail network, and transform connectivity between economic centres, cities, towns and communities. It is already generating thousands of jobs, and billions of pounds and GVA in investment and economic growth across the country, and will do even more in the coming months and years as the project gets delivered. What’s more, as studies into HS2 have found, its benefits have been significantly undervalued, with forecasts of 500,000 extra jobs and 90,000 homes created around HS2 stations in the years ahead.

“We urge the Oakervee Review to publish swiftly and the Government to proceed with the project as soon as possible, to make the benefits of HS2 a reality, for the benefit of passengers, communities, and UK plc more widely, its economy and connectivity.”

Initial HS2 plans include a new railway line between London and the West Midlands carrying a 400m-long train with capacity of up to 1,100 seats. The new trains could reach speeds o up to 250mph with as many as 14 services an hour in each direction.

Following this, proposed plans would see a secondary phase continuing the service on from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds.

 

Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/PA Images

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