An anti-HS2 action group has praised the cautious approach to the scheme being taken by new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Speaking to Building.co.uk, Mr Corbyn said: “I’m concerned – and I want guarantees – that it [HS2] isn’t going to lead to removal of capital investment in the existing rail network and the need for improvements to it.”
He went on to highlight other rail investment priorities, which he felt should not be threatened by the HS2 spend, adding that there would be ‘enormous disruption’ resulting from construction.
Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said: “It’s a breath of fresh air to have a party leader who is actually trying to assess what the real-world implications of HS2 would be, opposed to simply swallowing the spin put forward by proponents.
“It has been clear since the outset that spending such a vast amount of money on HS2 would only mean other, more deserving projects will be squeezed out, and even the Department for Transport have admitted that HS2 could suck up all the rail investment money.
“Following the on-off and now delayed status of some rail upgrades, there is still the Hendy report to come which will surely cut back on other projects. In this climate, we simply cannot see Mr Corbyn getting the guarantee he seeks.”
“With the costs of HS2 set to spiral when they are finally worked out on current prices, there is no way other projects can be guaranteed. We welcome the fact Mr Corbyn is seriously looking at the implications of HS2, and remind him that if he finds the project to be deficient, it can be stopped when the bill comes back for third reading.”