Campaigners say a new report demonstrates that the HS2 project is a “complete and unmitigated disaster”.
The Public Accounts Committee of MPs released the HS2 Summer 2o21 document yesterday (22nd September).
It revealed that the anticipated cost of the controversial high speed rail line – which is set to cut through parts of Lichfield and surrounding villages – had now risen from £55.7billion in 2015 to about £100billion.
Joe Rukin, spokesperson for the Stop HS2 campaign group, said the report threw even more doubt on the overall viability of the line.
“This is yet another well-researched and independent report which shows that HS2 is a complete and unmitigated disaster and ever-expanding financial black hole.
“But it will be at best completely ignored by Government, or at worst it will be deliberately dismissed and wilfully undermined, as has every other report in the past which has tried to tell the truth about this ever-lumbering white elephant.
“It will be of no surprise to anyone that HS2 is getting even more behind schedule, even further over budget, and that there is still no evidence behind all the illusory promises of jobs and prosperity.”Joe Rukin, Stop HS2
The report said more also needed to be done to engage with communities impacted by the construction of the route.
“HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport also need to do more to address the concerns of people, communities and businesses near the route, and to make sure that the benefits they have been promised are delivered.
“The volume of complaints about disruption and environmental damage from construction is rising and is expected to increase as the programme progresses.
“HS2 Ltd has an opportunity to get on the front foot and engage with communities earlier and more successfully than it has done so far.
“Government has promised a range of benefits in addition to building the new railway, including providing local jobs – yet the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd are unable to tell us how they will ensure these are delivered.”HS2 Summer 2021 report
Penny Gaines, Chair of Stop HS2, said the report was further evidence that the time had come to put the brakes on the entire project.
“It’s over a decade since HS2 was first announced – in that time we’ve seen costs triple, and the completion date pushed further and further into the future.
“As the report shows, engagement with other people is dire. It’s not just the communities affected, HS2 Ltd have only had ‘limited conversations’ with the University of Birmingham, which has taken over the failed National College for High Speed Rail.
“Covid-19 has completely demolished the rationale for HS2 – it should be cancelled as soon as possible.”Penny Gaines, Stop HS2