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HS2: 'Rigorous' review into rail project announced

HS2: 'Rigorous' review into rail project announced

Published by Dan Gooding at 10:32am 21st August 2019. (Updated at 11:56am 21st August 2019)

The high-speed rail project which could be built through Buckinghamshire is being reviewed.

The government has announced an 'independent and rigorous' review into HS2 this morning.

But work underway to prepare for the project, including here in Bucks, will continue for now.

HS2 in Buckinghamshire

The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today (Wednesday 21 August 2019) published the terms of reference and timetable for an independent review into the High Speed 2 (HS2) project.

The terms of reference published today confirm that the independently-led government review will look at whether and how HS2 should proceed, using all existing evidence on the project to consider:

  • its benefits and impacts
  • affordability and efficiency
  • deliverability and scope
  • its phasing, including its relationship with Northern Powerhouse Rail

A final report will be sent to the Secretary of State, with oversight from the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, by the autumn.

The report will inform the government’s decisions on next steps for the project.

Limited, largely preparatory works, on the project will continue in parallel with the report’s work.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

"The Prime Minister has been clear that transport infrastructure has the potential to drive economic growth, redistribute opportunity and support towns and cities across the UK, but that investments must be subject to continuous assessment of their costs and benefits.

"That’s why we are undertaking this independent and rigorous review of HS2."

Douglas Oakervee, who has built up considerable knowledge on a wide range of major projects over the course of his 60 year career, will lead the review and will work with Lord Berkeley as his deputy.

They will be supported by a panel of experts, bringing together a range of perspectives from business, academia and the transport sector to ensure an independent, thorough and objective assessment of the project.

Panellists will each be consulted on the report’s conclusions.

Douglas Oakervee said:

"The Prime Minister has asked me to lead this important review into the HS2 programme.

"I looking forward to working with my deputy, Lord Berkeley, to advise the government on how and whether to progress with HS2, based on all existing evidence."

Tax Payers Alliance welcomes review

The TPA has been a leading group in the campaign to scrap HS2.

Most recently, it published the final results of the Great British Transport Competition, a report detailing 28 local and national transport infrastructure projects that could be funded if High Speed 2 (HS2) was scrapped.

Launched by former Cabinet Minister David Davis MP, the report details a range of projects across the country that are less glamorous but could do wonders for growth in the regions.

John O'Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

"We have long argued that HS2 is a waste of taxpayers' money, and it's good news that the government will conduct a full review.

"This is a sign that the government is willing to be bold and think seriously before spending taxpayers' money on a white elephant.

"Brits need new world-class infrastructure that will make us competitive, but it's vital that taxpayers get value for their hard-earned cash, too."

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