‘Convincing case not made for HS2’ – Lords

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Campaigners against HS2 in Brackley have hailed a highly critical House of Lords report which claims the government has not made a convincing case for the £50 billion scheme.

The Lords Economic Affairs Committee said there were less expensive options than HS2 for solving overcrowding on the railways but these had not been properly reviewed.

It called for a complete review of the scheme by the new government after May’s elections and said legislation to allow the first phase of the scheme should not be given until important questions raised in the report are satisfactorily answered.

Brackley town clerk, Linda Carter, and councillor Mark Morrell represented Brackley before MPs at Westminster last month.

The pair explained the effect of HS2 on the town as ‘potentially catastrophic’. There are fears of unacceptable noise levels, worrying emissions and tailback traffic chaos way before the trains begin thundering underneath the A43.

The report acknowledged their concerns the elevated road could increase the risk of noise and emissions sweeping into the town.

Mr Morrell, who campaigns for better roads on social media as Mr Pothole, said: “I am pleased the committee have noted Brackley Town Council’s concerns over the elevation of the A43.

“However, I would have liked to have seen more on us having greater input into the traffic management schemes. I would hope we can achieve this via the local management plans that need to be put in place with all parties.”

Peers said HS2, which will cut through countryside 1km from Brackley homes, was supposed to rebalance the economy but it is London rather than the Midlands or the North that is likely to be the biggest beneficiary from HS2.

The first phase of HS2, from London to Birmingham, is due to open in 2026.