Quarterly reports on environmental impact, costs and progress

Part of High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 15th July 2019.

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Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton 6:30 pm, 15th July 2019

It will do so much damage at a time when we are becoming increasingly aware of how important it is to address issues such as environmental protection and climate change.

My constituents are frustrated that HS2 will effectively terminate at Euston. So many of them would prefer not to fly to the continent from Manchester airport, but to take a train, but it would be impractical to have to trundle heavy suitcases across London.

We started with a cost of £35 billion and the latest figure is in the region of £56 billion. No one believes that the costs will not escalate, and there are now credible reports of up to £80 billion. Those are still only estimates, and that is unacceptable. My constituents do not see HS2 as a value for money enterprise.

In the Lords Economic Affairs Committee, Lord Forsyth of Drumlean said:

“Commuter services in the north of England are badly overcrowded and reliant on ageing trains. Rail connections between northern cities are poor”— and between northern towns—

“rail infrastructure in the north should be the Government’s priority for investment, rather than improving north-south links which are already good. The north is being short-changed by the Government’s present plans, especially as construction on HS2 is starting in the south. Any overcrowding relief from HS2 will mainly benefit London commuters.”

If we are to have any assessments, reviews or reports, we need to look at how we can ensure a fair and proportionate benefit to constituents such as mine from an investment of this size.