Press Release from Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan MP

Following the decision by the Transport Secretary, announced today, that the West Coast Main Line contract has been cancelled, Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan MP has called for a “root and branch re-examination of the whole of the the HS2 project and its viability”.

Mrs Gillan, the MP for Chesham and Amersham, has written to Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, asking him “to urgently undertake a complete re-examination of the business case, a re-evaluation of the case for HS2 and the basis on which all decisions have been made by the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd”.

In the case of the West Coast Main Line contract, the Department has revoked the decision based on errors in the way which inflation and passenger numbers have been worked out. 

“This will undoubtedly have had an effect on the HS2 project business case which is based on similar passenger numbers and assumptions,” Cheryl Gillan said.

Cheryl added, “The Department has also, to date, failed to take on board the complete lack of confidence people now have in the process being used for progressing HS2 and many of its experts in my constituency and beyond have been pointing to significant technical flaws in passenger number assumptions, engineering calculations, environmental approaches, as well as the mistakes that have been made even in the simple collection and analysis of responses to consultations.”

The MP pointed out that decisions about HS2 are being taken in advance of the airport review announced by the government.  This “would seem to be totally illogical”, she said. “Any railway development and enhancement should take into account future planning for our airport capacity and should not proceed without a fully integrated plan being drawn up,” adding that the recent doubts over lack of connectivity to London Heathrow would involve re-routing.

Cheryl Gillan concluded, “In the light of these new developments and the approaching judicial reviews on HS2 I hope the Transport Secretary will now be able to conduct a root and branch re-examination of the whole HS2 project and its viability.”