HS2 Could Yet be Cancelled as Government Launches Full Review

By Gary Cutlack on at

The government is about to embark on some serious pretending-to-listen, as it's launched a full inquiry into the plan for HS2 – even going so far as to ask whether the rail line should be built at all. Even though plenty of stuff's already been started so we'll look pretty silly if it's all binned off now.

The independent review into "whether and how HS2 should proceed" is pitching the minds of the project's pro/con camps against each other, as the review's chair is Douglas Oakervee – former chairman of the HS2 project so therefore obviously therefore a hard pro -- with the job of deputy review chair handed to Lord Berkeley. Berkeley is in the extreme con camp, as he's anti enough to have his own tag on the web site of pressure group Stop HS2, and has in the past accused the rail company's board of out and out fraud.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said what he's after from this ill-matched pair of infrastructure cop buddies is some honesty about the budget, as he says he's asked Oakervee to come back with something that explains "really genuinely what it will cost to complete" the rail project, adding that we can expect a final, we-mean-it-this-time "go or no go" decision by the end of 2019. [GOV via Sky News]