Plans for High Speed 2 took a blow today as they were attacked on both financial and environmental grounds.
A report by the Institute for Economic Affairs suggested that the cost of the project is likely to double official estimates, reaching £80 billion.
The charity Campaign for Rural England also said it believes half a million people - including some living 40 miles from the planned route - would be affected by the construction.
But the chief executive of HS2, Alison Munro, described the claimw as "absurd" and insisted the project would remain within budget.
ITV News correspondent Lewis Vaughan Jones reports:
More top news
The NHS is to set up 11 centres to unlock the secrets of DNA and help develop tests and drugs to target cancer and rare genetic diseases.
Australian businessman named as Alan Sugar's newest apprentice and winner of a £250,000 investment in his fledgling company.
The 270 victims of the Lockerbie bombing have been remembered today, 26 years to the day that they lost their lives in the air disaster.