HS2 route will 'wreak havoc' across region, warns new South Yorkshire MP

One of South Yorkshire’s new MPs says the current HS2 route will ‘wreak havoc’ across the region, in a letter to the Prime Minister.

Friday, 3rd January 2020, 5:30 pm

Rother Valley’s Conservative MP, Alexander Stafford has joined the HS2 review group of Conservative MPs, urging better alternatives to improve capacity and link northern towns and cities.

Mr Stafford said: “The current route for HS2 will wreak havoc across Rother Valley, destroy hundreds of homes, break up our communities and would be an environmental disaster.

“We urgently need HS2 to be properly reviewed and stop this huge waste of money. Every pound spent on HS2 is a pound that is not being spent on proper connectivity or the upgrading of our northern infrastructure.”

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Chancellor Sajid Javid with new Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford

The review group includes new and experienced MPs from the North, Midlands and the South.

An open letter to the Prime Minister, which Mr Stafford has signed, states: “HS2 is widely seen as a project that is beset by problems, consistently running over time and over budget.

“The business case is increasingly weakened. We have a duty to ensure that our new northern constituencies benefit from infrastructure investment to secure the trust they have placed in us.

“It is especially important that we look at alternatives, particularly as several colleagues have carried out research on how we can fulfil our commitments to new rail investment and other transport projects, rather than pressing ahead with HS2 as currently constituted.

“We also have concerns about the environmental impact of the project. Community engagement has been poor or non existent, and no lessons have been learnt from the early stages, meaning the hostility against this project has spread up the line.”

PM Boris Johnson is due to announce over the coming weeks whether HS2 will go ahead based on an official report into the high speed rail project.

The independent Oakervee Review is looking into the viability of HS2 due to spiralling costs, increasing number of demolitions and loss of ancient woodland.

The project aims to speed up travel times with high speed rail connections between major cities but over the past decade the cost has rocketed from £26 billion to £88 billion.