HS2 review labelled a 'whitewash' report

The Deputy Chair of the Committee looking into the future of HS2 has branded his own panel's draft report as "dishonest" and "lacking in balance" and has asked for his name to be taken off it.

Today the Deputy Chair of the Review panel, Lord Tony Berkeley, published an open letter to Chairman Doug Oakervee which slams these recommendations, describing the review as a "whitewash".

A draft report into the viability of HS2, ordered by Boris Johnson, was leaked to The Times newspaper yesterday (November 12) claiming that the project should be completed in full, despite spiralling costs.

Berkeley says his concerns over the financial viability of the high-speed link from London to Birmingham and Manchester were ignored.

He says the report is "misleading and dishonest" and shows a "lack of balance" because it based things on figures from HS2 alone, and not from independent sources. He also claims that the real cost of the project could reach £103 billion - almost twice the original estimate.

Mr Berkeley wrote: "I cannot support its conclusions or recommendations, and have serious problems with its lack of balance."

"The lack of balance is reflected in the often unquestioning acceptance of information provided by HS2 Limited and a failure to scrutinise the involvement of HM Treasury and the Department for Transport in the development of the project."

The Department for Transport said that Doug Oakervee had not finalised his report before the election was called, and no copy of this has been provided to the Department. They said he will deliver it to the new Government, and any views ahead of that are speculation.

  • Europe's biggest infrastructure project

  • Official cost is £56 billion - but reported to have risen to £88 billion

  • Will link London to Birmingham and the East Midlands, and then split into a Y-shape, to Manchester and Leeds