Joined: 13 Jan 2007
Location: Westminster, LONDON, SW1A 2HB.
|Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:46 am Post subject: High Speed Rail Two, HS2 £111 billion vanity project
|Chris Grayling accused of ‘hiding’ details of HS2 budgets
Dean Kirby 2 days Friday July 28th 2017
Chris Grayling has been accused of “hiding” details of the budgets and timescales for HS2 from an official document amid rising concerns about the cost of the project.
The 196-page Development Agreement between the Transport Secretary and HS2 Ltd drawn up in 2014 and updated earlier this month sets out how the project will be managed and delivered.
But key pages in the document including the “baseline delivery schedule” and the “cost model” for the first phase of the scheme have been redacted, along with an annex of “budget envelopes” and “target prices”.
Even the definition of the term “budget envelope” has also been redacted.
The concept that the construction timetable of HS2 is commercially sensitive and is therefore a state secret is utterly ludicrous. It is absolutely in the public interest to release this information.
Joe Rukin, Stop HS2
The agreement says the Transport Secretary has the final decision on any redactions at his “absolute discretion”.
Campaign group Stop HS2 has now accused Mr Grayling of failing to back up his own claims that the project is “on time and on budget”.
The Infrastructure and Projects Authority has rated the project as “in doubt, with major risks” for a fifth year in succession.
Earlier this month, Mr Grayling said it was “incredible, inconceivable and simply nonsense” to suggest the cost of HS2 is set to spiral out of control following claims in a newspaper that the £56bn project could end up costing more than £100bn.
Joe Rukin, campaign manager at Stop HS2, said: “The concept that the construction timetable of HS2 is commercially sensitive and is therefore a state secret is utterly ludicrous.
”It is absolutely in the public interest to release this information and the working budgets because this is a government project being built with public money.
“But the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd have consistently refused to publish any of the reports that actually tell the truth about what is going on with this vanity project.”
The Government awarded contracts worth £6.6bn for the first phase of the route from London to Birmingham earlier this month and unveiled its route from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds – confirming that it would pass through a new housing estate named Shimmer, near Doncaster.
The Department for Transport said the redactions in the agreement contain commercially sensitive information. The redacted pages are marked “Official – Sensitive (Commercial).”
The 2015 Spending Review confirmed the cost of HS2 at £55.8bn. The Development Agreement states that HS2 Ltd shall ensure the “anticipated final cost” of the first and second phases of the project shall not exceed that figure.
The document says the railway should be capable of carrying passengers “at the earliest date possible”, with the line operational to Manchester and Leeds by a “target final delivery date” of 2033.
But Penny Gaines, the chair of Stop HS2, said: “One thing that is clear with documents relating to HS2 is that the Government tries to get away with hiding as much information as they possibly can.”
A DfT spokesman said: “HS2 will become the backbone of our national rail network – creating more seats for passengers, supporting growth and regeneration and helping us build an economy that works for everyone.”
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
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Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."