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.
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:
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
The Institute of Directors (IoD) has joined those calling for HS2 to be scrapped, branding the £50 billion high-speed rail project "a grand folly".
A survey of IoD members found that just 27% feel HS2 represents good value for money, and 70% say the scheme will have no impact on the productivity of their business.
The survey also showed that there was little enthusiasm for the project even in the regions where the benefits are supposed to be strongest.
Richard Wellings from the Institute for Economic Affairs has said there is now more pressure for the scheme to be cancelled and that money should be spent on other transport projects.
The cost of the HS2 rail project which will travel through parts of Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire could reach at least £80bn, almost double the current estimate.
The study by the Institute for Economic Affairs called for the project to be scrapped according to the Sunday Telegraph.
In the report, to be published tomorrow, the IEA says the cost of the scheme has been vastly underestimated, and argues that the £80billion price tag could deliver £320billion of value if spent on road and other rail and transport projects.
Campaigners are also warn that more than half a million people will have their lives affected by the project's construction.
HS2 has been launched to provide a 250mph rail link between London and Birmingham from 2026.
The report suggested that the government's £42.6bn estimate would spiral because of a variety of factors, including changes to routes and extra tunnelling to placate opposition from campaigners; new stations, grants for regeneration and compensation for towns and cities bypassed by the new line.
An HS2 spokesman told the paper: "We have considered all construction access routes as part of the development of the draft Environmental Statement... The consultation was open to all members of the public to respond.. We have sought to provide construction access with minimal disruption.
In developing the subsequent formal Environmental Statement, we will be considering how we can further reduce any adverse impacts. HS2 Ltd is still developing transport routes for the construction of the line, accordingly it is not possible to definitively say how the road network will be used."
Plans for a high speed rail link between London and Birmingham, crossing parts of Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire, could generate billions for the economy and create thousands of jobs, according to the Government.
Today the Transport Secretary announced an HS2 growth task-force to maximise the rail scheme's economic benefits. But others say the plans are a huge waste of money.
The Court of Appeal has rejected the latest challenges to Government plans to pursue the HS2 national high-speed rail project, which is to link London with the West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire.
Fifteen councils and many other objectors, including residents' associations along the route, had asked the appeal judges to order further assessment of the project.
The judges dismissed all grounds of challenge but gave the go-ahead for a final appeal to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the country.
A High Court judge has ruled in favour of campaigners challenging the Government's handling of HS2, the high speed rail route through the Midlands.
Although he rejected all but one of five legal challenges, Mr. Justice Ouseley said the Government's consultation process was unlawful.
HS2 Ltd argue the high-speed rail will boost the economy:
"This project is vital for the economy and for our country going forward. We need the capacity , we need to improve the connectivity between our major cities. The judgement today gives us the green light to press on with the project and deliver that for our major cities."