Government’s ‘independent and rigorous’ review of HS2 to be led by former boss of HS2

The Canary

A Government-commissioned independent review into HS2 will analyse whether and how the project should continue, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.

Former HS2 Ltd chairman Douglas Oakervee will lead the inquiry, with Lord Berkeley – a long-term critic of the high-speed railway scheme – acting as his deputy.

The DfT said the review will consider a number of factors relating to HS2, including its benefits, impacts, affordability, efficiency, deliverability, scope and phasing.

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A final report will be sent to transport secretary Grant Shapps – with oversight from prime minister Boris Johnson and chancellor Sajid Javid – by the autumn.

This will “inform the Government’s decisions on next steps for the project”, according to the DfT.

Shapps said: “The prime minister has been clear that transport infrastructure has the potential to drive economic growth, redistribute opportunity and support towns and cities across the UK, but that investments must be subject to continuous assessment of their costs and benefits.

“That’s why we are undertaking this independent and rigorous review of HS2.

“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.”

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    1. Shall the review by this impartial arbiter encompass consideration of matters which might make high speed rail unnecessary in a geographically compact country, else is his remit merely to advise on whether investors in HS2 will get adequate return on capital?

      Since HS2 was conceived advances in communications technology make many face to face meetings, and conferences, requiring long distance travel unnecessary. Crude ‘conference phone calls’ and more recent simple A/V contacts (I know from experience not to be satisfactory) are to be replaced by immersive virtual reality meetings.

      Given the speed of light and distances,involved participants will perceive no lag. Additionally, on assumption of technological retards in political office not seeking to cripple encryption, meetings in this format can be wholly confidential.

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