The House of Commons will look into the case for high-speed rail

Parliament to probe HS2 rail scheme

The HS2 high-speed rail scheme is to be the subject of a Parliamentary committee inquiry.

The House of Commons Transport Committee will consider the business case for the route which will initially run from London to Birmingham.

The MPs on the committee chaired by Louise Ellman, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, will consider the “robustness” of the assumed economic benefit that high-speed rail (HSR) will bring and its environmental impact.

Work has been scheduled to start on the link in 2015, which will run through the Chilterns and could be extended north of Birmingham at a cost of around £32 billion.

The committee, chiefly made up of ministers from north-west constituencies, will also look at whether the proposed stations on the route are in the best place and which cities should be served by the link north of Birmingham.

One question they will pose is "What evidence is there that HSR will promote economic regeneration and help bridge the north-south economic divide?"

Some residents’ groups, local councils and Tory MPs are opposed to the scheme, which is at the heart of government transport policy and is supported by big businesses and the rail industry.

They argue that the economic case for the line is unproven and that it is not a good use of money during the recession.

Further information:

The IET Transport Policy Panel, on behalf of the IET Trustees, intends to submit a response to this consultation and invites comments from members who have expertise in this area and have studied the consultation documents. In its capacity as a professional body, the IET will confine itself to only addressing those questions that are within its area(s) of competence.

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