House of Lords expresses serious reservations about High Speed 2 cost-benefit analysis
A House of Lords report – Rethinking High Speed 2 – has expressed serious reservations about value for money assessment underpinning High Speed 2.
It claims that the Department for Transport’s appraisal guidance for large infrastructure projects is not fit for purpose.
The report states that work should have started in the north, to strengthen connectivity benefits.
Economic appraisal guidance is criticised for not taking into account the transformative benefits of the investment on the economy.
Instead journey time has been over emphasised, leading to focus on speed and associated high costs. The report wants to change this focus. Lower speed would reduce tunnelling costs and costs associated with route alignment. Furthermore, costs could be reduced with the London terminus outside of London, instead of Euston as planned.
Overall, the report raises more questions about the High Speed 2 project. Costs are not under control, and authorisation to proceed being deferred. It may finally be time to reassess the whole programme. Is it really needed?