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The HS2 project cannot continue in its current guise, Lichfield’s MP has claimed.

Michael Fabricant MP made his comments in the wake of a National Audit Office report which has said the risk of rising costs for high speed rail had not been fully assessed.

It follows a previous report suggesting the line – which would cut through parts of Lichfield and surrounding villages – could end up costing £106billion.

Mr Fabricant said the maths for the project in its current guise did not add up:

Michael Fabricant

“With the National Audit Office trashing the economic viability of Phase 1 HS2, the Government needs to rethink connectivity between Birmingham and London.

“It is now clear that the current formulation is not the answer.

“In a month’s time, the Oakervee Review will be published, but with just three months to prepare their report, its chair already made it clear they would not have time to consider alternative routes and proposals for the London-Birmingham link. 

“The deputy chair has already dismissed its conclusions as unrealistic and produced a comprehensive minority report. In any event, the Oakervee Review panel was stuffed with politicians and interested parties.

“The National Audit Office say that the current formulation of HS2 will generate just 80p of benefits for every £1 invested on Phase 1 and that the remaining part of the route is so underprepared, it is impossible to predict what the overall rate of return will be.

“In other words, HS2 makes no economic sense.”

Michael Fabricant MP

“The costs are out of control”

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Mr Fabricant has now urged the Government to go back to the drawing board and bring in external experts to fully assess whether HS2 can continue.

An artist’s impression of HS2

“I am now recommending to Government and to Number 10 that they commission a full and independent engineering review by a respected firm of independent consulting engineers and give them sufficient time to explore alternative routes and solutions.

“I believe that the route from Birmingham southwards should aspire to greater connectivity. 

“Rail connections should continue beyond London to Heathrow – the busiest airport in Europe – and directly to the Channel Tunnel and Europe.  This was the original vision for HS2. 

“It should not be necessary for passengers to change stations at the West Midlands’ busiest rail interchange, Birmingham New Street, nor in London in order to continue a journey to the continent. 

“And serious questions need to be asked as to whether high speed tilting trains could be used on enhanced existing rail lines instead of constructing an environmentally damaging new line destroying local habitats.

“The costs are out of control and HS2 has been badly mismanaged.  It cannot continue as it is.”

Michael Fabricant MP

Despite the criticism from the Conservative MP, business leaders in the Midlands have urged the Government to plough on with the project.

Paul Faulkner, chief executive of the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said:

“Those against the project will no doubt point to the headline figures listed in relation to spiralling costs, but to be honest, these are nothing new.

“Let’s not forget that the only people who will lose out if HS2 doesn’t go ahead are the millions that voted for this Government to make good on their promise to deliver real change and level up the disparities between the regions and so our message to the Prime Minister is clear – cut the dithering and start delivering.”

Paul Faulkner, Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

14 replies on “Lichfield MP says HS2 makes no economic sense”

  1. Just get it built. We’ll be years behind other countries otherwise. The fields are being dug up around Lichfield and the A38 has already been adjusted. Stopping and starting or even just scrapping it at this stage would be more wasteful.

    Plus, Mr Brexit Fabricant needs to realise that it’s still going to cost less to build this railway than the amount we’ve wasted on Brexit so far.

  2. ‪That’s not what the West Mids and Manchester Mayors are saying. They are saying that it would be game-changing for the regions – and the Conservatives committed in the General Election only a few weeks ago to invest in the crumbling regional infrastructure‬

  3. I absolutely agree with Mr Fabricant on this issue. I am disgusted with how the costs have mounted from the initial costing of £38,000 (whoever came up with this number needs to answer to the public) to the prospect of a ‘possible’ amount of £106,000. But even this amount is just an approximate amount. It could be even higher. This is incompetence at the highest level. And it is beyond me how those involved in this project are still employed? Given that Northerners were sold this as a means of renovating the transport problems of the North, why on earth was it begun in the South? Doesn’t this spell out where the priorities of those involved always were. And when it is suggested that the project will create numerous jobs I say the money already spent, what £86,000, could have been given to the local communities for their own more relevant job creation opportunities and restoring a viable public transport system. What could they have done with £106,000? Not only am I appalled at the waste of money and time, but the stupidity. Especially when a shop assistant said to me only yesterday how often people go into that store only to find that when they get to the checkout their card is declined. It grieves me quite honestly that people who have no economic power have to leave the store with nothing. Where do they go? The food banks? Then the destruction of ancient woodlands and the creatures whose habitat it is, our history and potential money maker if promoted properly. And yet some of those involved in this crazy project earn more than an ordinary family will have to subsist over a period of several years. Plus they have all the economic benefits of their job even if they fail. How they live with themselves I do not know. But it’s about time that an end was put to this money pit. Obviously those with money invested would not agree. Well they have been shown up for what they are. Self interested opportunists. Tough!!!!

  4. Ps.. Is it possible to have a record of the accounting so far as regards where the money has been spent???? I think at least the public is owed this.

  5. Burntwood Bloke, how come you criticise the use of green belt land around Burntwood for more construction and building work yet you are not at all concerned about the Green belt land, namely the ancient woodland that will be devastated and destroyed by the HS2. I recently met with my family in Sutton Park. It was so noticeable how much wildlife has it’s habitation there. And how beautiful the quiet tranquility but best of all not one person not even children using their phones. That is amazing in itself!! And we are ordinary humble working class folk. It was unimaginably satisfying to the soul. Green is acknowledged as the most restful. colour. That is possibly why Nature is itself ‘Green’. Why destroy Nature. Without it we cannot survive. Us humans and Nature have a transactional relationship with each other. If it is destroyed so are we. Talk about self destruction.

  6. Megan, we’ve had the M6 Toll plough through our village. The constant, unrelenting traffic noise is nothing compared to a high speed train line. The horse has already bolted on HS2. Fields are being ripped up, bridges are being put in, the A38 has been altered. Stopping it now would be like stopping the M6 Toll after all the land had been bought. Dithering and leaving half-built bits everywhere isn’t the answer.

  7. @Burntwood Bloke…. The expenditure so far has been about six billion. Compensation claims are said to be another six billion. The overall costs are estimated at a hundred and six billion…. and rising!
    It is not too late to stop this now and find a better way of improving infrastructure. Not all of the expenditure will have been wasted as some can be sold off or put to other use.
    Unless the government will commit to phase two and three the whole scheme will be a nonsense. It is highly improbable they are going to do that. The massive amount this line is costing without any certainty of economic success will compromise many needed developments throughout the country.
    It has been a white elephant from the start. Now is the time to recognise it for the mistake it really is.

  8. Burntwood Bloke every one keeps saying the Toll Road is underused so how can you have all the traffic noise especially as they built earth banks to send the noise up not sideways. I live not far from M6 Toll but the nearest road is the A 5 and except for a few hours in early morning it drones on and on but after a while you do not hear it

  9. Given the initial costing of £38 BILLION , obviously done by people who didn’t know what they were talking about, and the subsequent current £86 BILLION spent to date, and now the proposed £106 Billion funding further needed when it isn’t even anything like halfway done, I can only presume the final cost will be over £200 BILLION. Nuff said!

  10. Having read the book ‘The 7 sackings of Rome’ it leads me to understand that war has ever been the same since the beginning of time. Fact is nothing has changed. Yet it is the yeat 2020. It still means refugees fleeing their circumstances and becoming slaves to the economic powers. Cheap labour? They have no choice whether because of political or economic power. Neither has the disadvantaged indigenous population. They are both in the same boat. But do not realise it. It has ever been the same. Division created between refugees and the indigenous population. Hence the current situation in the UK and Europe. The same as it has ever been. As Talking Heads explain. Time for change. Yes! 2020 needs people with vision. ‘2020’ vision. Get on it.

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