The report from the House of Lords criticising the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail project adds weight to UKIP’s view that HS2 should be scrapped. Here in South West Norfolk, people might be tempted to think ‘so what?’ as the planned Y-shaped route for HS2 joins London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds and passes nowhere near us.
The problem, however, is that HS2 is expected to cost some £50 Billion, and of that about £31 Billion will come from taxpayers paid over 60 years. That means although the people of South West Norfolk may rarely (if ever) use HS2, they, plus their tax paying children and grandchildren, will contribute toward its costs.
The Lords Economic Affairs Committee agrees with UKIP that HS2 is a white elephant
Of course supporters of HS2 will say that the economic benefits of such a massive infrastructure project justify spending so much money on it. They will also argue it will bring benefits to communities well away from the planned route. I would reply that the Midlands and North West of England might achieve greater prosperity by spending money on less expensive infrastructure projects and local economies instead.
Lastly, as far as South West Norfolk is concerned, we would get much more value from a fraction of the HS2 funding being spent on improving the A47. If cancelling HS2 frees up some £500 Million per year for 60 years, I am sure we can think of ways some of that money could be put to good use in our constituency.
The government claims HS2 will shave 60 minutes off the time it takes to get from London to Manchester. I think most of us would rather be able to drive across Norfolk more safely and more quickly. It’s time for a change; scrap HS2 and improve existing transport infrastructure instead.
Photo by Wooly Matt