A comment on the announcement of the review into HS2 from Dame Cheryl.

GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES INDEPENDENT REVIEW INTO HS2 PROGRAMME

Rt Hon Dame Cheryl Gillan MP, whose Chesham & Amersham constituency is on the proposed HS2 route, commented today on the “go or no go” review announced by the Transport Secretary this morning.

Dame Cheryl said: “ I am pleased there is going to be a review of the project. HS2 is, I believe, completely unviable in terms of value for money for the British taxpayer.  I would, though, have preferred the review to be conducted by someone who was neither on the Board nor a contractor, but there are good reasons for a review.

“ First, the cost has risen astronomically. The latest estimate is in excess of £100 billion: we have just learned lessons from Crossrail about the failure to deliver projects like this on budget and on time. The forecast for HS2 is totally unrealistic, with much of the information being based on the situation 10 years ago, which has not been updated.

“ Second, the scheme is also based on the way that we worked and travelled 10 years ago. I believe that the money can be spent better, benefiting the Midlands and the North, on practical improvements with proven benefits to rail passengers and residents there, and on infrastructure like better broadband.

“ Third, this project is not environmentally friendly. Our emphasis now should be on protecting the environment, not destroying it or paying lip service – HS2 planted thousands of trees which subsequently died as they were not maintained after planting.

“ If the review says HS2 is marvellous, then so be it, but I believe the money it would cost could be spent much better.”