The government’s £34 billion High Speed 2 rail scheme is set to be the subject of a parliamentary committee inquiry.
The House of Commons Transport Committee will look into the strategic case for the high-speed rail line which will initially run from London to Birmingham.
The committee will examine the business case for HS2 and are set to demand answers on the ‘robustness’ of the assumptions of economic benefit of HS2 which could run as far north as Birmingham.
The announcement came after business leaders, politicians and economists branded the project an “expensive white elephant” in a letter to the Daily Telegraph signed by 21, including former Conservative chancellor Lord Lawson of Blaby.
However transport secretary Philip Hammond said there was not much more to opponents’ argument than Nimbyism.
In comments published in Metro this morning, Mr Hammond said: “I hear lots of arguments about whether the country can afford it, value for money and the business case. But 95 per cent of these arguments come from people who just happen to live in [affected towns] Wendover or Aylesbury or Amersham
“I don’t blame them for fighting their corner but they should be honest that their objection to this project is that it comes through their backyard. It is not a principled objection.”
Among the committee’s objectives is to query what evidence exists that the scheme will promote economic regeneration and help to bridge the north-south economic divide.