26 AUGUST 2019
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The future of the HS2 multi-billion-pound high-speed rail project was called into question last week after the government confirmed it had commissioned a review into “whether and how” it should proceed.
The review will be chaired by Douglas Oakervee, a retired engineer who briefly chaired HS2 Ltd and worked with prime minister Boris Johnson when Johnson was London mayor. The review deputy, Lord Berkeley, a railway expert, is a critic of HS2.
The project, to provide high-speed rail services between London, Birmingham, Crewe, Manchester, and Leeds using a mixture of existing and new high-speed track, has been dogged by controversy since its launch.
On the review, transport secretary Grant Shapps said Johnson had been clear investments in the UK’s transport infrastructure had to be subject to continuous assessment of their costs and benefits.
He added: “That’s why we are undertaking this independent and rigorous review. Douglas Oakervee and his expert panel will consider all the evidence available and provide the department with clear advice on the future of the project.”
The MAG group, which runs Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports, said: “It is imperative both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail are delivered as quickly as possible and connected by a hub station at Manchester Airport to realise the full economic potential of both schemes.”
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