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HS2: what is happening?

January 13, 2020 12:38 PM
By Elizabeth Shepherd

No HS2

HS2 has been a major issue for many people in our area since it was first announced in 2010[1]. A decade later it is no less controversial and as many of you will have noticed, construction has started in the Chilterns.

In August last year, the government announced an independent review of the programme[2]; although the review has not been published, there have been reports in the news about the possible findings The BBC reported in November that the draft review indicated that HS2 should be built despite the rising costs[3]. This month the former Deputy Chairman of the review, Lord Berkeley, stated that: "It is my belief that there is overwhelming evidence that the costs of the HS2 project are out of control, [and] the benefits are overstated …"[4]

The original projected cost of HS2 was £33bn; the cost projected 2 months ago was £88bn and Lord Berkeley's assessment estimates that the cost could exceed £100bn, with a return of 60p for every £1 spent. The Chair of the Stop HS2 campaign, Penny Gaines, commenting on this assessment, said: ""The case for HS2 has always been poor, and is simply getting worse. In the last six months the expected cost has nearly doubled, the timescale massively increased and the environmental damage from HS2 is becoming increasingly apparent. It is time for this white elephant of a project to be cancelled as quickly as possible." [5]

What can we do locally? If you are interested in the activities to stop HS2 or to mitigate the impact, there are local organisations which you can support. HS2 Watch[6] has been set up to hold the contractors engaged in the building work to account. The group is supported by the Chiltern Society[7], the Chesham Society[8] and HS2 Amersham Action Group[9]. People in these organisations are passionate about the impact of HS2 on our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and no doubt, would be happy to discuss the issues with you in depth.

[1] https://www.railway-technology.com/projects/high-speed-2-hs2/

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-independent-review-into-hs2-programme

[3] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-50388738

[4] https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/hs2-will-top-100bn-says-official-who-quit-review-3k5gfq0s6

[5] http://stophs2.org/news/18973-berkeley-report-leaves-hs2-irrevocably-damaged

[6] http://www.hs2watch.com/About.html

[7] https://chilternsociety.org.uk/hs2/

[8] http://www.cheshamsociety.org.uk/index.htm?HS2/index.htm

[9] http://www.hs2amersham.org.uk/

Websites accessed 7 Jan 2020