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Tuesday, 10th September 2013

UK: High Speed 2: A Review of Early Programme Preparation

Source: House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts (UK)

From Conclusions and Recommendations:

In January 2012 the Department announced its decision to proceed with High Speed 2; the proposed Y-shaped high speed rail network linking London, the West Midlands and the North of England. Phase one, from London to Birmingham, is due to open in 2026 and phase two, from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester, is due to open in 2033. The indicative budget for the network has now been increased to £42.6 billion plus £7.5 billion for rolling stock. The Department is advised and assisted by HS2 Limited, a company that is wholly owned and funded by the Department. The Department plans to present the High Speed Rail Hybrid Bill, required to provide the necessary powers to construct and operate the line, to Parliament by the end of 2013, with the aim of receiving Royal Assent by the end of March 2015.

The Department has not yet presented a convincing strategic case for High Speed 2. The Department has yet to demonstrate that this is the best way to spend £50 billion on rail investment in these constrained times; that this is the most effective and economic way of responding to future demand patterns, that the figures predicting future demand are robust and credible and that the improved connectivity between London and regional cities will enhance growth and activity in the regions rather than drawing more activity into London.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

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