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Sir David Higgins: HS2 'vital for the future' of UK

HS2 boss Sir David Higgins has said the project was "vital for the future of the country".He added: "The cost and impact have to be recognised and acknowledged, but so too do the cost and impact of doing nothing.

Sir David Higgins. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

"Without HS2, the people of this country will continue to face the failures of our transport system on a daily basis.

"This contingency has pushed the price of phase one, from London to Birmingham, up to £21.4 billion with £3 billion for the trains, while the cost of the second phase, taking the line in a Y-shape to north west and north east England is put at £21.2 billion with around £4.5 billion for the trains."

Read: HS2 boss wants to fast-track high speed rail project


HS2 boss to say he would like to start second phase

Launching his report in Manchester, Sir David Higgins, HS2's recently appointed chairman, will say that he would like work to start on the second phase at the same time as the first phase.

An anti HS2 sign in Whittington, Staffordshire. Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The second phase, taking the line in a Y-shape to north west and north east England is set for completion around 2032/33. He is also expected to recommend a completely new station at Euston - the site for the line's London terminus.

Sir David, the former London Olympics supremo who has joined HS2 Ltd after being Network Rail chief executive, is also expected to recommend scrapping plans to link HS2 with HS1, the London to Kent coast Channel Tunnel high-speed line.



Cable: 'Compelling case' to speed up HS2 extension

Business Secretary Vince Cable has said there is a "compelling case" to speed up the extension of the controversial HS2 high speed rail link to the cities of the north.

Business Secretary Vince Cable with David Cameron at a 10 Downing Street reception last summer. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive/Press Association Images

His intervention came as HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins prepared to outline his plan for an accelerated construction timetable while reducing the cost of the #50 billion infrastructure project.

Sir David, who will publish his report on later, will also issue an appeal to the main political parties to unite behind the scheme.

Read: Vince Cable - 'Compelling case' to speed up HS2 extension

Read: HS2 chairman to announce recommendations but no new cuts

HS2 could increase flood risk

MPs have voiced concerns that the planned route of the HS2 high-speed rail link could increase the risk of flooding.

Politicians say there needs to be a full flooding risk assessment along the £42 billion route which will run through parts of Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire.

They say the line will concrete over farmland which currently serves as natural flood protection.

Developers HS2 Ltd say they are inspecting the route for signs of flood risk.

HS2: Businesses in the East 'could suffer'

by Tanya Mercer

New figures have revealed towns and cities in this region could be among the hardest hit by the proposed HS2 rail link.

The report suggests businesses will leave places like Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire, and relocate to other areas with better links to the high speed train line.

It could cost the economy in the East hundreds of millions of pounds.

Click below to watch Tanya Mercer's report.



HS2 'needed as network will be full by mid-2020s'

The HS2 high-speed railway project is needed because without it, the existing rail network will be "full by the mid-2020s", the Department for Transport said today, after the Institute of Directors slammed the initiative.

A train passes through Church Fenton, North Yorkshire where it is proposed the HS2 railway will link with the East Coast Mainline. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

A spokeswoman said: "The scheme is forecast to generate over £50 billion of benefits for the UK economy but we know we must maximise every economic benefit HS2 has to offer.

"That is why the HS2 Growth Taskforce was created, headed up by Lord Deighton, to work with city and business leaders to ensure we are capitalising on every opportunity to help regeneration, job creation, investment opportunities and in building a skilled UK economy."


HS2 defends project saying there is 'no alternative'

There is "no other alternative" that delivers the "benefits" of HS2 said chief executive of the project today, after the Institute of Directors slammed the initiative.

While we respect the right of the IOD to state its case, we believe that HS2 will provide value for money and will bring about a transformational change to the economic geography of our country...

The IoD have not yet released their polling data but it is clear that their members are strongly in favour of increasing capacity with 80% supporting investment in long-distance trains and 41% supporting HS2.


Investment elsewhere 'far more sensible' than on HS2

Investment in the West and East Coast main lines as well as a variety of other infrastructure projects would be a "more sensible option," the director of the Institute of Directors said today after it slammed the HS2 high-speed rail project. Simon Walker added:

Businesses up and down the country know value for money when they see it, and our research shows that they don't see it in the Government's case for HS2.

We agree with the need for key infrastructure spending, but the business case for HS2 simply is not there. The money would be far better spent elsewhere and in a way that will benefit much more of the country.


Less than half of business chiefs spend travel working

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has said that a central part of the Government's current economic case for HS2 was that time spent on a train is unproductive.

However, the IoD said its recent research showed that this assumption was "wildly inaccurate", as only 6% of directors say they never work on a train. According to the figures:

  • 48% of members say they spend at least half of the journey working
  • 26% work for between a quarter and half the time
  • 21% spend up to a quarter of the journey time working productively
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