Tony Berkeley, former Deputy Chair of the Oakervee Review into HS2, has published his report into whether HS2 should proceed. It is highly critical of the scheme, and should prove significant with regard to the project’s future. A few choice quotes from the report:

“There is strong evidence that the greatest need and demand for improved rail services is within the regions, in particular the Northern Power House (NPH) and Midlands Connect (MC) areas, since services to and from London are of better quality, and that HS2, apart from its Northern end within the NPH area, does not help this much.”

“The cost of HS2 Phase 1 has risen from £15.1bn in 2016 to £54.5bn at 2019 prices, an increase of 361%.”

“Traditional Value for Money appraisals for HS2 does not work; government needs to make a choice on whether it believes wider economic benefits will happen whether a scheme will be value for money or not. Proceeding with the project is not supported by BCR results; it must be a government policy decision whether to build it regardless of other priorities for spending £100bn+ or for spending some of the money on a range of local and regional rail services.”

“I believe that, overall, compared to improving existing lines, HS2 is not good for the environment, and HS2 Ltd. has exacerbated the situation by its appalling treatment of stakeholders, residents, businesses and councils in the areas over which it plans to construct the lines.”

“I think that the information disclosed to the Panel raises very serious concerns about the competence of HM Treasury and the Department for Transport, given their involvement in the project as confirmed in Patrick McLoughlin’s letter to George Osborne dated 11th May 2016, but also of HS2 Ltd.”

“I believe that Parliament has been seriously misled by the failure of HS2 Ltd. and by ministers to report objectively and fairly on costs and programme changes.”

Read the full report