Michael Fabricant told the Transport Minister this morning (Thursday, 24th October) that the Oakervee Panel reviewing HS2 do not have sufficient time to consider better routes.
Michael said: “It’s not just the cost of HS2, it’s the route, it doesn’t even connect with Birmingham New Street, Heathrow, or its very original intention of connecting with the Channel Tunnel. It does none of these. Doug Oakervee himself has told me that the amount of time they’ve got to consider all this is very limited, very challenging indeed. Not enough time to consider alternative routes. So will he consider giving them more time to do just that?”
The Transport Minister, Paul Maynard, replied: “As I say, we have not put any time limit on Mr Oakervee’s findings, and he will report when he is ready to do so. As he will know, the current plans for Phase 1 would see passengers connecting to Heathrow via Old Oak Common, and services also call at Euston, where passengers can make onward travel plans, including to Eurostar via St Pancras.”
Michael Fabricant now says: “I think the minister is wrong. The Oakervee Panel were asked to respond by the end of this year which does not allow sufficient time to study alternative routes. HS2 as currently planned is incredibly expensive, likely to cost – on present plans – in excess of £100 billion, and does not realise its original promise. If, as I suspect, money is saved by reducing the speed and frequency of the trains, rather than making it better connected, HS2 will become even less relevant than it is at present.”