Tuesday 17 April 2012
The recent report revealing that the Channel Tunnel high speed rail line (HS1) has far fewer passengers than predicted is another nail in the coffin for High Speed 2, says the Chilterns Conservation Board.
The report states that the number of passengers using HS1 is less than half of what was originally forecast (9 million against a forecast of over 21 million) and at a cost far in excess of what it has generated. Despite this sobering experience it seems few lessons have been learnt by the Department for Transport and it is ploughing ahead with HS2.
Mike Fox, Chairman of the Chilterns Conservation Board, said:
"Not only will it cause immense damage to the environment, even the Government now accepts that HS2 is an economic basket case. They have just officially downgraded their own business case again and the Benefit Cost Ratio is now only 1.2. That means we only get £1.20 back over 60 years for every £1 that is spent to build and operate it - not a good investment in anyone's eyes."
Normally the Treasury will not consider any project that has a return of less than 1.5.
The case put forward for HS2 is still based on hugely optimistic forecasts of passenger numbers and, because it wrongly assumes no passengers can work on a train, actually gives the time saved on a journey a notional value, which it then uses to justify the project.
"It is about time the Government cancelled this extraordinarily expensive project and used the £35 billion of taxpayers' money on investments the public actually want" said Mike Fox.