William Eichler 27 August 2019

Northern leaders to review controversial HS2 scheme

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership will hold a review into HS2 to ensure that the North is ‘properly heard’ in the Government-commissioned review of the controversial scheme.

Last week, the transport secretary Grant Shapps published the terms of reference and timetable for an independent review into the High Speed 2 (HS2) project.

He said that while transport infrastructure had the potential to drive economic growth and support towns and cities in the North and Midlands, investments ‘must be subject to continuous assessment of their costs and benefits.’

Responding to the announcement, Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said that HS2 was a ‘vital project’ for rebalancing the economy.

He added that the Northern Powerhouse Partnership will be ‘engaging positively’ with the review to make the case for why HS2 is ‘so necessary’.

It is understood that HS2 is over budget, with some estimates predicting it could be £100bn over budget by the time it is concluded.

Documents seen by the BBC show that project costs were spiralling above the £56bn budget even before MPs had signed off the first phase.

Mr Murison today announced that the NPP would hold their own review into HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

The review will be overseen by Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, Kevin Hollinrake, the co-chair of the Northern Powerhouse All Party Parliamentary Group, Chris Oglesby, CEO of Bruntwood, Paula Dillon, a Yorkshire business person, and Howard Bernstein, former chief executive of Manchester City Council.

‘The Northern Powerhouse is of critical importance to the future of UK prosperity, and without improving connectivity it will be difficult to address the underlying reasons for our lower productivity,’ said Mr Murison.

‘In the coming weeks, this group of distinguished leaders and experts from across the North will be addressing the key evidence to ensure that the importance of economic rebalancing is fully understood by those undertaking the Oakervee review.’

For more on HS2 visit Transport Network.

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