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Cheryl Gillan tells transport secretary to 'scrap HS2'

Former Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan has launched an attack on HS2 and told the new transport secretary to scrap the scheme.

Writing for the Bucks Free Press, Ms Gillan - who was removed from the post in the prime minister’s recent cabinet reshuffle - said the scheme is “not good value for the taxpayer”.

She added: “There has never been a vote in parliament on HS2 on whether it should go ahead and I do not believe that it should proceed. At over £32 billion it is too expensive and with an ever-falling benefit-cost ratio (currently standing at 1.2), the economic benefits have certainly not been proved yet.

“It is not good value for money for the taxpayer. The environmental damage to the protected landscape of the Chilterns would be immense, particularly in the South Heath and Great Missenden areas where cuttings would leave a scar across the AONB (Are of Outstanding Beauty).

However the prime minister backed HS2 in a parliamentary question yesterday, when he said the scheme needed to “go ahead for the good of the country”.

And transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin pledged his support to the HS2 scheme when he appeared in front of the transport select committee yesterday.

The government is due to publish further details about stage two of the scheme later this year, with the £32bn scheme set to see a new high speed line built initially between London to Birmingham and extending on to Leeds and Manchester, followed by links to Scotland.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Robert Millar

    As a keen advocate of rail travel can some one please explain the logic of spending over 780M on the Chiltern Line and cutting journey times by 20+ mins and now the need for HS2 to mirror it. Please some answers?

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  • Capacity, and ultimately cutting the journey time to Manchester/Glasgow...

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  • GFSEMD

    "Built In Britain" on BBC2 these last 2 Sunday PMs gave some pretty solid answers as to why we should build HS2. Just as with HS1 we have the skills and expertise within this country to build this, allaying any environmental concerns (e.g. build tunnels) and they even now have a procurement method proven to deliver both HS1 and the Olympics. However, it's more important for an MP to look after his/her constituency than the overall nation so it will get delayed and delayed...

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