Campaigners claim proposal for high speed rail is ‘falling apart’

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CAMPAIGNERS have claimed the credibility of the HS2 rail project is ‘falling apart’ after a Government report declared it faced major risks.

The compulsory assessment, carried out by the Cabinet Office’s Major Projects Authority, issued an amber-red risk of the project going wrong – just one step away from warning it is unachieveable.

However the full report, which adds mounting pressure on Transport Secretary Justine Greening to abandon the plan, will not be published until the Hybrid Bill reaches Government in the next two years.

Peter Deeley, chairman of South Northamptonshire Against HS2, argued the credibility of the case for HS2 was increasingly worsening, with even the Government’s civil servants recognising it is flawed.

He said: “This report has highlighted is a great deal of concern. Information about this project is not being made freely available to the public or for MPs to make decisions on. You wonder what they are keeping secret.

“We will continue to put pressure on the Government to release more information about this report.

“We have being saying for more than two years that the business case just doesn’t stack up, and that is becoming more and more apparent.

“Those people living in South Northamptonshire who are affected by HS2 will be having serious doubts because they are not being given the right information.

“The credibility of this case is falling apart. It’s becoming more and more difficult to justify HS2 to the public, especially when austerity measures are seeing essential services being cut.”

The red-amber alert was only revealed by the Department of Transport following pressure from MP Margaret Hodge in her role as chairman of the public accounts committee.

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said: “This regular analysis will be used to improve delivery of HS2, a vital infrastructure project which will provide the rail capacity our network needs for the future.”

The scheme between London and Birmingham, which was approved in January, will cut through villages bordering the west side of Northamptonshire, including close to Brackley.

The Hybrid Bill which would legislate for HS2 is expected to be presented to Parliament in the next two years.