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It’s been quite funny to see the anti Hs2 mob getting their knickers in a twist over a new academic study & mathematical model from Imperial College London. In its newsletter the college describes the report thus:

“A new mathematical model suggests that major rail infrastructure projects, such as High Speed 2 (HS2) and London Crossrail, will cause some businesses and homeowners to lose out financially, when other destinations become better connected”.

Do we really need an academic study to tell us the blindingly obvious? There are always winners & losers when transport links are improved, nevertheless, trying to quantify this is an interesting exercise.

The newsletter goes on to say that;

“The scientists applied their model to analyse the effect of the proposed High Speed 2 (HS2) ‘phase one’ Birmingham to London route. HS2 has been estimated by a KPMG report, commissioned by the Department for Transport in 2013, to create £15 billion annually in increased economic output, with phase one estimated to deliver 40 per cent of this benefit (£6 billion per annum). However, the new study predicted that phase one would create only £3.6 billion annually in increased economic output; less than one per cent of current output of both cities.”

Needless to say, the anti Hs2 mob jumped on this with glee, although I doubt any of them actually bothered to read the report itself (it’s not exactly holiday reading) or even stop for a moment to consider its implications.

For example, the KPMG report doesn’t actually form part of the Hs2 business case. It’s an extra. Therefore, what this report is actually suggesting is that around £60bn at Present Value (PV) should be added to the Hs2 business case. Eagle-eyed readers will spot the fact that’s at least £10bn more than the cost of building Hs2. Not only that, but it doesn’t take into account all the other benefits Hs2 generates in released capacity on existing lines, fares etc.

So, the report isn’t a reason NOT to build Hs2 – it’s actually the opposite! Oh dear…