The Government’s controversial High Speed Two (HS2) high-speed rail scheme, which will initially run from London to Birmingham, is to be the subject of a Parliamentary committee inquiry, it has been announced.
The House of Commons Transport Committee will look into the strategic case for high-speed rail (HSR).
Among the things that the committee will look at are the business case for HS2 with work scheduled to start in 2015.
MPs will wants answers on the “robustness” of the assumptions of economic benefit of HS2, which will run through beauty spots in the Chilterns and could be extended north of Birmingham at a total cost of around £32bn.
The MPs will also question whether the proposed stations on the route are in the best place, which cities should be served by HSR north of Birmingham, the environmental impact of the route and just who will benefit from it.
A number of members of the committee, including chairman Louise Ellman (Labour Liverpool Riverside) represent North West England constituencies.
One question the committee will be posing is: “What evidence is there that HSR will promote economic regeneration and help bridge the north-south economic divide?”
Some Tory MPs are opposed to HS2, while others against the plan include residents’ groups and some local councils.
HS2 is at the heart of the Government’s transport policy and is supported by big businesses and the rail industry.
But opponents, accused by some of Nimbyism, say the economic case for the line is unproven and that it is a waste of money during austere times.