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Draft review of HS2 backs network despite rising costs

Words: Huw Morris
HS2 train concept art / HS2

A draft copy of a government review into HS2 warns that although its cost may exceed its current price of £88 billion, it should still be built.

The high-speed line scheme should be altered, with the number of trains an hour cut from 18 to 14, says the draft of the Oakervee Review. However, the review’s deputy chair Lord Berkeley has claimed the scheme has not been properly scrutinised and he could not support its recommendations.

He criticised the review for accepting that HS2 should go ahead rather than look at alternative options. The review’s full publication has been delayed until after the general election.

Northern Powerhouse Partnership director Henri Murison said his organisation’s review of HS2 also found that there were no identified credible alternatives to deliver the same capacity, and that it has the potential to unlock greater growth in the North and the Midlands.

“It is welcome that their recommendations are mirrored by the government's own Oakervee Review,” he said. “As we await the three major party manifestos, the case that has been made for building Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 together all the way has never been stronger.”

The Stop HS2 campaign group said: “We always expected that a report headed by a former chair of HS2 and written by Department for Transport civil servants would be a whitewash, but the fact it has come out the moment the Brexit Party who oppose HS2 drop out of fighting the Tory-held seats along the route, proves that the review was never anything but a cynical election ploy from a prime minister who was worried about losing votes in his own constituency.”

Image credit | HS2