The £55 billion High Speed 2 rail project should be slowed down, and the entire economic case should be re-examined, according to a highly-critical House of Lords report.
The study, from the House of Lords’ economic affairs committee, said it was “far from convinced” the £55.7bn price was credible, and that a new cost-benefit analysis should be published.
It also said the two northern branches of the track – one of which will come through Nottinghamshire – may never be built due to cost overruns in the Birmingham to London leg.
The report recommends lowering the top speeds of the trains to save money and avoid going over budget.
Critics have said the cost is far too high and likely to increase, the environmental damage would be significant and the money could be spent better upgrading the current infrastructure.
The report queries why the tracks are being built to accommodate speeds of up to 400 kph, when the top speed of the trains would be 360km/h – and it says differences in journey times at 300km/h are minimal.
The House of Lords ‘Rethinking HS2 Report said: “We are far from convinced by the Government’s claim that the whole High Speed 2 project will be built within the £55.7 billion budget.
“The costs do not appear to be under control: Sir Terry Morgan, the former chairman of HS2 Ltd, told us that “nobody knows” what the final cost of the project will be.
“We are concerned that if costs overrun on the first phase of the project, there will be insufficient funding for the second phase and the northern sections of the new railway will not be built.
“The northern sections of High Speed 2 must not be sacrificed to make up for overspending on the railway’s southern sections.”