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MP calls for an urgent review into HS2

The Warwick and Leamington MP urged the Government to grant a debate in Parliament on the project’s progress and work.

Yesterday (Thursday 8 October), Matt Western asked the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, to allow MPs to debate the future of the controversial HS2 project.

The MP argued that a review was necessary in light of the “new normal” following the pandemic, which will change how the economy is structured and how people travel. He also suggested that some of the practices of HS2 Ltd needed more public scrutiny, including the ‘National Evictions Team’ and their conduct with the public, as well as the company’s practice of closing roads with little notice or consultation.

Mr Western’s intervention comes as it was announced this week that a vital road, the A425, will be closed by HS2 Ltd in three weeks’ time for nine months, creating an 11-mile diversion. Matt argued that this will have a “massive impact on the local economy”.

In his response, Mr Rees-Mogg did not commit to a review of the project.

Speaking about his call for a review, Mr Western said:

“HS2 was championed on the basis of meeting the need for increased capacity on our railways. But now, for many, working practices are changing and this will have an impact particularly on office commuters.

“It’s therefore absolutely critical that we review this eye-wateringly expensive project to understand if the costs outweigh the benefits in this ‘new normal’.

“It’s also ludicrous that HS2 Ltd can shut down, at short notice and with no consultation, such an important infrastructure link for nine months and causing untold disruption.

“I’m similarly concerned about the behaviour of the ‘National Evictions Team’, that has been heavy-handed at best (and reportedly much worse) with the public who are simply and rightly concerned about the destruction of our wonderful woodlands.

“The answer from the Government was most disappointing, but I will continue to push for an urgent review.”