Former director general of business lobby group the CBI Lord Jones has hit out against the government’s route for a high speed railway between London and Birmingham.
Jones, business ambassador and a former trade minister in the last government under Gordon Brown, said the proposed route through the Chilterns threatened to undermine the whole project.
A six month public consultation on the route began last month. Speaking at the inaugural ICE/Amey Prestige lecture in London this week, Jones said the line should follow the existing transport corridors to minimise landtake on greenfield land.
“It is clear that there will come a day when we don’t fly within Europe,” he said. “But is it right that to achieve that a railway goes through some of the most beautiful countryside in Europe?
“Why don’t we put it alongside what we’ve already built?”
Jones set out his views on high speed while stressing the need for government to invest in infrastructure (see Antony Oliver’s comment here).