Campaigners against the controversial HS2 rail link today accused the Government of “ploughing on regardless” with its “vanity project”.
The group Stop HS2 says a a growing body of evidence suggests the multi-billion pound scheme needs to be extensively re-assessed.
The scathing criticism from Yorkshire members of the group came after a powerful parliamentary committee yesterday warned there were “serious shortcomings” in the proposals, and a “more convincing” economic case was needed for the Government’s flagship transport scheme.
The Treasury now estimates HS2, the high-speed rail project eventually linking London to Leeds, will cost £42.6 billion – a 17 per cent increase on its previous projections.
Despite the renewed concerns, the Goverment was yesterday adamant that HS2 was “on course, under control and will be delivered within the agreed budget”.
James Lynch, from the Stop HS2 campaign group, said he was not surprised by the Treasury Select Committee’s recommendations.
Mr Lynch, who lives in Woodlesford, just 80 metres from the proposed HS2 track, said: “It’s just the latest in a long line of reports from experts, and the overwhelming evidence is that the business case for HS2 has not been made. But time and time again the Government ignore them, and plough on regardless.”
Mr Lynch and other campaigners have recently been urging councillors to push for an alternative route, which they say will be less damaging to locals. They are especially frustrated by the lack of a satisfactory compensation offer for people affected by the HS2 route.
Jo Mason, from the Churchfenton branch of Stop HS2, said: “It’s a vanity project and nothing more”.