‘HS2 plan could go three times over its budget’

Campaigners: Crofton residents are concerned about the effect of HS2 on their village.
Campaigners: Crofton residents are concerned about the effect of HS2 on their village.

The final cost of HS2 could be nearly triple its original budget, the leader of Wakefield Council said.

Coun Peter Box cited two recent reports which revealed that the scheme could eventually cost more than £100bn and that the frequency of its trains may be reduced to keep within budget.

You truly could not make this up, but that’s the situation we’re in.

Coun Peter Box

Coun Box, a longstanding critic of HS2, said the issue may need to be brought back to the debating chamber next month.

There has also been concern in communities where high-speed trains will run close to, which include South Elmsall, Hemsworth, Crofton and Altofts.

Referencing the reports, Coun Box said: “It’s gone from the orginal £34bn to £56bn, and now a leaked report has shown that the cost is more likely to be £100bn.

“On top of that, we got a report on January 13 that says HS2 may run fewer smaller and slower trains to stay on budget.

“You truly could not make this up, but that’s the situation we’re in.”

Crofton Against HS2 chairman Jonathan Pile said: “We welcome Wakefield Council noting that HS2 is over budget.

“To save money previously HS2 chose a different more damaging and less effective route through our communities which was sold on the promise of fewer demolitions but has more.

“Wakefield Council must stop cooperating with HS2 and block this project.”

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett said: “It goes right through the middle of my constituency and we are going to get all of the pain and none of the gain.

“The council are right to be alarmed – it is a staggering amount of money.

“People in my area see what a huge amount of money it will cost and it only stops in Leeds and Sheffield. It is of no benefit whatsoever to my constituency.”

An HS2 Ltd spokesman said: “HS2 is a transformative transport infrastructure investment that will deliver a whole range of benefits to Yorkshire.

“We are working with our supply chain to ensure we deliver on the budget we have been set by Government.

“We are challenging the supply chain to innovate, to work collaboratively and to draw on the experience of some of the world’s leading infrastructure companies working with us.”