Michael Fabricant today (10th September) met privately with Douglas Oakervee, Chairman of the Oakervee Review into HS2 and, in a separate meeting, Andrew Gilligan, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Transport at Number 10 Downing Street.
Commenting on the meetings, Michael says “Doug Oakervee and I discussed the scope of the review and he said he is quite open to considering alternative routes for HS2 as well as its possible cancellation.
“I told him that the original Arup proposal would have used an existing transport corridor, the M40 motorway, which would have been cheaper and been less environmentally damaging. It would also have connected HS2 directly with the continent as well as with Heathrow and, possibly, directly into Birmingham New Street Station instead of Curzon Street. HS2 does none of this. By crashing through previously untainted countryside, it is destroying natural habitats and ancient woodlands.
“Doug agreed that a holistic approach to the railway system is required and one that integrates properly with Network Rail. He told me there was little or no liaison with Network Rail when HS2 was designed. I hope his official recommendations will reflect the need to change the route and will not simply trim down the existing route.”
In a letter to Michael Fabricant sent earlier in September, Douglas Oakervee says of HS2: “We intend to use all existing evidence on the project and consider its benefits and impacts; affordability and efficiency; deliverability; and scope and phasing, including its relationship with Northern Powerhouse Rail and other rail projects in the North of England and Midlands.”
Michael also met Andrew Gilligan: “Andrew is highly sceptical about HS2 and has written with his views in the Sunday Times and elsewhere. We had a far reaching discussion regarding HS2. He agrees with me. The current route is disconnected from other modes of transport, far too expensive, and untennable in its present form.
“The next few months will be very interesting and I look forward to reading the Oakervee Review when it is published. I hope I wont be disappointed.”
The Oakervee Review will make its initial report before the end of the year.
Photo shows Douglas Oakervee (right) with Michael Fabricant