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High Speed 2 review

Artist's impression of HS2 Credit: Calendar news

The National Audit Office has expressed "reservations" about the Department of Transport's business case in planning for the High Speed 2 rail network.

In a report out today, it says the Department has "poorly articulated" the strategic need for a transformation in rail capacity and how High Speed 2 would help generate regional economic growth.

According to the report, the Department's method for appraising the project put a high emphasis on journey-time savings, from faster and more reliable journeys.

However, the relationship between these savings and the strategic reasons for doing the project, such as rebalancing regional economies, was "unclear" .

The NAO says it is also unclear whether the business case covers just the route between London and the West Midlands (phase one, due to open in 2026) or the full Y-shaped network with lines from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds respectively (phase two, due to open in 2032).

The Y-network had a stronger economic case but this was much less certain as route designs were less well-developed. And the NAO estimates that there is a £3.3 billion funding gap over four years (2017-18 to 2020-21) which the government has yet to decide how to fill.

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MP calls meeting over HS2 plans

An MP is holding two meetings today over plans for the high speed rail project which some residents fear may blight their village. Phase two of the HS2 rail link to London from the north is expected to travel through Killamarsh ending at Sheffield Meadowhall.

This could mean some houses may have to be demolished and plans to restore the village's railway station may not go ahead.

Natascha Engel who is the MP for North East Derbyshire, wants to give residents in Killamarsh a chance to have say over the project. The consultation meetings are taking place at 1.30pm at Renishaw Community Centre and 4pm at Killamarsh Church Hall.

HS2 boss defends scheme

Ian Jordan, HS2 Ltd Director for Leeds, Manchester and Heathrow, defended the scheme after a village in North Yorkshire said it would blight their community in a meeting tonight.

He said: "HS2 will generate jobs and rebalance the country's economy, delivering a return on investment that will benefit regions like Yorkshire.

"Wherever practical, the route has been designed to minimise potential impacts on people and properties as well as important environmental features.

"The Government and HS2 Ltd will continue to work closely with communities and interested parties to refine plans to find the right balance between delivering essential infrastructure and respecting the rights and concerns of those most affected.

HS2 protestors say it is "worst thing since medieval battle"

Nearly 200 people packed out a public meeting to protest against a high speed rail link this evening.

Residents of Church Fenton, near Tadcaster, and surrounding villages turned out, with some saying the £33 billion scheme is a waste of money and a "white elephant".

Four properties will be knocked down to make way for the new line and campaigners say many more would be blighted by the noise of the 200 mph trains passing over the village on two 60ft tall viaducts.

Jo Mason, who set up an action group, said: "Since the Battle of Towton 552 years ago this is the worst thing that's happened to the village. It's playing politics with people's lives. It's about house prices. It's about protecting the environment. We have to do it together."

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HS2 protest meeting

Artist's impression of high speed train
Artist's impression of high speed train Credit: Network Rail

A protest meeting organised by opponents of the Government' s controversial high speed rail link between London and Yorkshire takes place tonight. Residents in Church Fenton say a viaduct planned for the edge of the village will "decimate" it.

The meeting will be held in the Village Hall from 7pm

Residents' high speed rail fear

Residents in a small North Yorkshire community fear life will be changed for ever by the government's high speed rail link.

Church Fenton has just 700 houses, a Norman church, two pubs, and a post office. However, villagers fear all that could change after the long-awaited route for HS2 was unveiled yesterday.

And even the planning minister Nick Boles admitted today that the new route is likely to cause "pain, misery and disappointment" for local people. Chris Kiddey reports.

Angela Smith MP welcomes rail announcement

The news the Government is to commit to building an high speed rail link connecting Sheffield to London and Leeds has been welcomed by Angela Smith, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge.

The proposed Sheffield station would be built at Meadowhall - causing some controversy.

While for Sheffield the preferred location of the station would have been Midland Station, I can fully understand why it is proposed to locate the station at Meadowhall.

To get the line into Sheffield would be very expensive, in excess of £1.5bn. it also has to remembered that this stop is for the City region and as a Barnsley MP too I recognise how important it is that Barnsley has good connections to high speed rail.

Meadowhall provides that for Barnsley Rotherham, Sheffield and outlying areas such as Worksop and Chesterfield.

– Angela Smith MP
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