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Demand for more ‘clarity’ on HS2 after report questions rail line’s benefits

People living in Lichfield need greater clarity on HS2, according to the leader of Staffordshire County Council.

Cllr Philip Atkins’ comments come after the National Audit Office reported that it was “too early” to make conclusions on the project achieving the value for money and presents “limited evidence on forecast passenger demand”.

Meanwhile, national campaigners from the Stop HS2 group say the study shows that the high speed rail plans have got “out of control”.

Philip Atkins

Philip Atkins

The National Audit Office also highlighted an estimated £3.3billion funding gap in the scheme, leading to Cllr Atkins’ call for communities affected by HS2 to be better informed.

“Today’s report from the National Audit Office asks a lot of questions and residents affected by the proposals need clear answers,” he said. “The watchdog says it is unclear how HS2 will fulfil promises to transform economies and this is certainly the case in Staffordshire – as there are no economic benefits to the county.

“If the link is to be imposed on Staffordshire then there needs to be absolutely clarity on the scheme, the proposed route, mitigation and intended compensation arrangements for families.”

Lichfield is set to be one of the areas hit by the HS2 project, with the line set to run through parts of the city and surrounding villages.

The route has aleady been opposed by the county council, Lichfield District Council andMichael Fabricant MP.

Joe Rukin, from Stop HS2, believes the new report from the National Audit Office is another blow to the proposals for high speed rail.

“The project is out of control because the politicians involved have been seduced by the words ‘high speed rail’,” he said.

“The National Audit Office say there is no evidence that HS2 will boost growth or help the regions.

“To put it simply, they say everything the Stop HS2 campaign has been saying for three years. The Government and MPs haven’t wanted to listen to us, but they surely have a duty to listen to the National Audit Office?”

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