Cost to the public would be higher if HS2 is cancelled

HS2 would just be built later at a greater cost to the public if it was cancelled now, a new report has suggested.

The HSR Industry Leaders Group, which was set up by rail interest group Greengauge 21, has published a report entitled ‘Great Britain: connected or not?’ highlighting the potential problems the UK could face if it pulls plans to build a new high-speed rail network between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

Among the findings, the report says that it is unlikely the £42 billion allocated to HS2 would be spread among other rail infrastructure schemes if the project was cancelled.

Shelving high-speed rail plans would also demonstrate an “unwillingness to invest” in Britain’s infrastructure and miss an opportunity to regenerate parts of the Midlands and North of England.

Looking at projects such as Crossrail, the report predicts that even if HS2 were cancelled, it would likely be built at a later date at a greater cost.

Jim Steer, director of Greengauge 21, said: “HS2 is a project that will build a bright future for Great Britain. With the Bill for the first stage of the route now before Parliament, we felt it important to set out the hugely positive difference this project will make.

“To bring to life its contribution, we considered this question: what would be the most likely outcome should it be cancelled? Thinking this through it became clear to all of us that walking away from HS2 is a risk that Britain just cannot afford to take.”