HS2 Oakervee report leak says full HS2 scheme should go ahead

Parts of the Oakervee review into the HS2 project has reportedly been leaked to The Times newspaper.

Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 1:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 2:05 pm

According to The Times, former HS2 chairman Douglas Oakervee, who was picked by the Government to decide whether the scheme is still viable has recommended that it should still go ahead.

The Bucks Herald, which has led the HS2: Enough Is Enough campaign has, alongside other campaigners and Bucks County Council leader Martin Tett, expressed scepticism at the validity of a review which is chaired by someone who has been so close to the panel.

And following this morning's report in The Times, national campaign group Stop HS2 were quick to respond with similar sentiments.

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An anti-HS2 protest in Calvert Green

Today, the Oakervee report on HS2 was leaked to the Times. The review, which was supposedly independent but was overseen by a former chairman of HS2 Ltd and was written by civil servants in the Department for Transport, admits HS2 is tens of billions over budget, but claims that HS2 will be worth it whatever the cost.

Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin, said: “We always expected that a report headed by a former chair of HS2 and written by DFT civil servants would be a whitewash, but the fact it has come out the moment the Brexit Party who oppose HS2 drop out of fighting the Tory held seats along the route, proves that the review was never anything but a cynical election ploy from a Prime Minister who was worried about losing votes in his own constituency.”

“This admission that the cost of HS2 are tens of billions above budget vindicates what we and the whistle-blowers have been saying for years, and we now call on Government to release all the evidence the panel received, and it is essential that the Serious Fraud Office produce an interim report, as we are concerned the next Government may order them the cease their investigation into this multi-billion pound fraud.”

Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2, added: "It comes as no surprise that the former chair of HS2 Ltd, still thinks HS2 is a good idea, in spite of the massive cost increase and years of extra delays. By trying to change the focus from Phase 1 to the sections north of Birmingham there is a tacit acknowledgement that HS2 is focusing on solving the wrong problem. But this was clear from the moment that HS2 was announced.

“HS2 was a bad project when it was originally announced and was supposed to cost £33 billion, it was a bad project when it was supposed to cost £55 billion, and it is a bad project now the cost is expected to be more than £88billion. It should be cancelled as soon as possible, so the government can focus on the real transport priorities.”