HS2 potential gains 'significantly outweigh' risks, MPs say
13 Dec 2013
MPs have defended the new HS2 high-speed rail project, arguing that it is ‘essential’ to the UK’s future.
The Commons Transport Committee also said the potential gains ‘significantly outweigh’ any risks.
HS2 will cut journey times between London, the Midlands and the North.
The first phase of the project, which links London and Birmingham, is expected to be completed in 2026, while the second section from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds is due to be finished in 2032/33.
It is claimed to bring economic benefits to the country as well as better connections for businesses and public passengers. The committee said that the estimated costs of £50bn for the HS2 project had been exaggerated and committee chair Louise Ellman thought that HS2 would ‘bring better connectivity.’
However, Joe Rukin, campaign manager of ‘Stop HS2’ said ‘it was clear that this inquiry was going to be a cheerleading whitewash when the transport committee only called people who support HS2 to give evidence.’
But Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin believes that it would be a ‘heart bypass for the clogged arteries of our transport system’ and says that it is the ‘best long-term solution’ to a predicted increase in demand on the railway usage.