Documents to download

In its report, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee identified three main areas of concern for the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail programme: priorities for rail investment; the process used to evaluate the project; and cost reduction considerations. The committee argued that improvements to rail infrastructure in the north of England should have been prioritised over HS2. The report also questioned the accuracy of the appraisal method used to support the project and gave some recommendations for reducing costs. Specific recommendations in these areas included: 

  • combining the Northern Powerhouse Rail Programme with the second phase of HS2;
  • undertaking a new analysis of the project; and
  • reviewing the potential cost saving if the maximum speed of the railway was reduced and if the line terminated at Old Oak Common station instead of Euston in London.

In response, the Government stated that the Northern Powerhouse Rail Programme is being developed closely alongside the second phase of HS2 already, but that it would consider the committee’s recommendation to join the two schemes. It also stated that the Department for Transport has confidence in the methodology used in its initial analysis. The Government did not accept the committee’s recommendation that analysis of potential cost saving by reducing the maximum speed at which trains could operate on the line should be published. It also did not accept the recommendation that services should terminate at Old Oak Common in London.

On 21 August 2019, the Government announced that an independent review into HS2 would be conducted by Douglas Oakervee, a former HS2 chairman. The review’s final report has not yet been published, though Lord Berkeley (Labour), deputy chair of the review, has published a dissenting report. The Government has already accepted that the costs of the project have increased. It intends to make a decision on the future of HS2 in due course.

Documents to download

Related posts

  • Cyclists and the law

    Currently, cyclists who ride dangerously or carelessly can be prosecuted for various offences, including those contained in the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as amended). In 2024, the government said it was introducing a new offence of causing death by dangerous cycling. This briefing summarises the existing laws and proposals for creating new offences ahead of a forthcoming debate in the House of Lords.

    Cyclists and the law
  • Strategies to address issues in the transport system

    The transport system in England consists of many elements, including local roads, the strategic road network, and local and national rail systems. Concern has been expressed by some that England’s transport system outside London is not working as well as it could. The government has published several different strategies to address issues in the transport system, such as its national bus strategy and transport decarbonisation plan.

    Strategies to address issues in the transport system