DfT defends HS2 plans

The Department of Transport (DfT) has jumped to the defence of the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail link after a report claimed it would cost almost double the current estimate of £43 million to build.

Research from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) speculated that HS2 could cost up to £80 billion due to lobbying from local authorities looking to gain superfast rail links for their towns and cities.

According to express.co.uk, IEA said this could cost the taxpayer £30 billion on top of the overall cost of the project, with additional trains requiring an extra £7.5 billion.

DfT said in a statement that HS2 would generate a return on investment for many “generations to come”, claiming that without the added services, rail routes connecting London, the Midlands and the North would be overwhelmed.

Previous studies have highlighted that London could significantly increase its business tourism revenue off the back of HS2, possibly thanks to its superior selection of event venues and facilities.   

Cited by bbc.co.uk, the DfT statement added: “HS2 will provide the capacity needed in a way that will generate hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of pounds worth of economic benefits.” 

The chief executive of HS2 has also dismissed the claims laid down by IEA, labelling the estimate of £80 billion as “absurd”.