Quarterly reports on environmental impact, costs and progress

Part of High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:30 pm on 15th July 2019.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Minister (Transport) 4:30 pm, 15th July 2019

There are two separate points. We want to ensure that we get value out of the project, and it is astonishing that the Government have not put in place the peer review mechanisms over it—both economic and engineering peer reviews—as has been the case for other major infrastructure projects. This is a way to build public confidence and to ensure that we have a real comprehension of the power of these projects. Unfortunately, HS2 is working very much in isolation, and that responsibility sits with the Secretary of State, who is not calling it to account enough; it is a shame not to see him in his place today because he is answerable to the House for this project, and he has not done his duty in ensuring that HS2 fulfils its responsibilities. But perhaps we will get a showing from the Secretary of State later—let us hope so.

I want to talk about the environmental concerns that have been raised and the costs. Many have also questioned the engineering itself. In my experience, senior engineers from across the rail industry—not necessarily involved in the HS2 project—have been making these points and have called for greater scrutiny. It is therefore really important that we identify any fault lines in the project to ensure that amendments are made. Of course, it takes time to ensure that there is a proper review and that the project is built for the long-term future.