“No specific date” for HS2 review
The delivery of the Oakervee review, which is examining the viability of the HS2 high-speed rail link, is not subject to a time limit.
That’s according to a government minister, responding to claims from a fellow MP that the review didn’t have enough time to consider alternative routes for the scheme.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced in August this year that it had commissioned the independent review to be led by former Crossrail chairman Douglas Oakervee, working with Lord Berkeley as his deputy. It is considering HS2’s benefits and impacts as well as its affordability and efficiency, its phasing, its deliverability and scope.
Originally, Shapps said that a final report would be submitted in the autumn of this year.
But during a debate about HS2 in Parliament yesterday, Conservative MP Michael Fabricant MP criticised the current route and suggested that Oakervee did not think he had been given enough time to consider alternatives.
Fabricant said: “It is not just the cost of HS2, but the route: it does not even connect with Birmingham New Street or Heathrow, or meet its original intention of connecting with the Channel Tunnel. It does none of those. Doug Oakervee has told me that the amount of time they have to consider all this is very limited—it is very challenging indeed—and there is not enough time to consider alternative routes, so will the Minister consider giving them more time to do just that?”
In response, the parliamentary under-secretary for transport, Paul Maynard, said: “I met Douglas Oakervee last week for an administrative discussion about the review, and once the review is finalised the Department has committed to making it public. We have not put any time limit on Mr Oakervee’s findings, and he will report when he is ready to do so.”