MPs order review of £32bn rail plan

A Commons Select Committee inquiring into the Government's HS2 high-speed rail project has commissioned an independent review into the £32 billion scheme rather than just rely on written and verbal evidence, it was announced tonight.









From the independent consultants Oxera, the review is due to be published tomorrow as the House of Commons Transport Committee holds the first of five evidence sessions on HS2.



The review focuses on the business case for HS2 whose first part - from London to Birmingham is due to be completed in 2026.



A second Y-shaped section on to Manchester and Leeds and possibly further north could be finished around 2032/33.



Announcing the Oxera review, the House of Commons Transport Committee chairman Louise Ellman (Lab: Liverpool Riverside) said: "The review is a guide for us. We felt we needed it. This is a project of great importance and also of great controversy."



The coalition Government is anxious to press ahead with HS2 which is the central plank of its whole transport policy.



"We want the review to look at some of the technical assumptions about the Government's case for HS2, Mrs Ellman said.









The inquiry will not look at the precise specification of the HS2 route which passes through beauty spots in traditional Tory heartlands.

The committee will also not look at how the route will affect landowners, businesses and residents.



But it will investigate if the project is justified on cost grounds, whether the passenger numbers add up, whether the project will lead to a modal shift from road to rail and whether other schemes might be more appropriate.



As many as 190 organisations have submitted written evidence to the committee.



Mrs Ellman was asked about a Sunday Times report that the Duke of York had told the Treasury last year that the Queen was concerned that high-speed trains could spook her horses.



Mrs Ellman was asked: "Has the Queen made representation to the committee? Smiling, Mrs Ellman replied; "Not that I have seen up until now."



Among those giving evidence to the committee tomorrow are the Association of Train Operating Companies' chief executive Michael Roberts and Network Rail network planning director Richard Eccles.



Supporters of HS2 will appear before the committee on June 28, while the main opponents of the scheme will give evidence on July 12.



Aviation and environmental groups are due to appear on September 6, with Transport Secretary Philip Hammond giving evidence to the committee on September 13.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn