Hs2: claims it's "unnecessary"

Demand for the HS2 high-speed rail project has "likely been overestimated", according to a report by a think-tank.

Hs2 is a "£33b gamble"

A think-tank said in a report out today the demand for the HS2 link - which will connect Leeds to London - has been "overestimated".

"Demand for HS2 has likely been overestimated by oversimplified government modelling.

The foundation suggested alternatives for the money that will be spent on HS2: £10 billion could transform rail infrastructure in northern England and the Midlands, creating new and faster east-west rail links, redeveloping stations and electrifying regional rail lines

"It could overhaul the East and West Coast main lines, increasing the speed, capacity and reliability of north-south rail travel with less environmental damage than HS2."

– Spokesman for the New Economics Foundation - who published the report

"HS2 is the largest transport investment in the UK's history. At the moment it amounts to a £33 billion gamble.

"Our research shows the Government is backing the wrong horse. Instead of pouring billions of pounds into a single line that will take 20 years to complete we should be spreading our bets on a wider range of transport investments that offer better value for money."

– David Theiss, a researcher at the NEF,

Hs2 "won't tackle north-south divide"

The HS2 project

Demand for the HS2 high-speed rail project has "likely been overestimated", according to a report by a think-tank.

Evidence HS2 will promote economic growth or tackle the north-south divide is "limited", the report - from the New Economics Foundation - claims.

HS2 will reduce the average journey time from central Leeds to London from 2 hours 20 minutes to 1 hour 28 minutes.

The report adds the line will be "carbon intensive and environmentally damaging".

In January 2012 the construction of phase 1 between London and Birmingham was approved. Construction is set to begin in 2017 with an indicated opening date of 2026.

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Transport Minister: lines would be over-capacity without HS2

"Demand for long-distance rail travel has doubled to 125 million journeys a year in the past 15 years and by the mid-2020s the West Coast Main Line will be completely full.

"HS2 will provide the capacity needed in a way that will support thousands of jobs and billions of pounds worth of economic benefits.

"It is not a case of HS2 and nothing else. During 2014-19 we are investing over £9b on the current rail network, while latest figures show over a one year period we spent upwards of £8.7 billion on our roads.

"We will continue to make significant investment into all modes of transport across the country."

– Simon Burns, Transport Minister