The case against HS2

Chris Belk - Chairman of the Conservative Transport Group recaps on some of the reasons that HS2 should be cancelled or radically redesigned.

    

  1. Design risk (over and above its construction in deep ground along a route with no previous construction history - and still limited bore hole data by HS2 Ltd)
  1. Cheshire Salt Mining risks. See first three attachments
  2. A recent Central London Tunnel collapse risk. See next three attachments
  3. Technical design measures to combat the terrorism threat. The very high terrorism threat arising as a consequence of HS2’s isolated route has not been publicly discussed and there is no evidence it has even been internally acknowledged by HS2 Ltd let alone technically addressed in their design planning. Once acknowledged (which will hopefully soon happen) the necessary threat reduction measures will surely be very costly - plus satisfactory reduction/elimination of the risk along the remote route may not be achievable.
  1. Realistic project cost estimates  - £200bn by 2033 seems very convincing

 Prioritisation issues

  1. From many sources there are insufficient skilled construction manpower (and materials & plant) resources to deliver everything on the governments infrastructure and housing projects list – irrespective of money funding availability. EU reduced manpower availability and the construction industry’s adverse age profile compounds the problem. There is no ‘magic people tree’
  2. There is a severe shortage of local public transport facilities (ie severe comparable to London’s) in the UK’s major cities and population centres which needs top priority addressing. As does local connectivity between these populations centres (hence Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Connect etc). Many (most?) of these ‘local’ projects should be way ahead of HS2 in the priority queue.
  3. There is also a large backlog of acknowledged but unplanned construction work that should also be higher than HS2 on the resources prioritisation queue. For example road potholes eradication, new schools to ease acknowledged overcrowding and hospital modernisation to reduce NHS costs to name but a few.

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