Senior transport figures have issued a stark warning on the future of transport in Yorkshire following reports that HS2 could be cut from the north in a bid to save money.
The Financial Times reported on Saturday that the high-speed network, planned to connect London to Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds, could be halted in the Midlands.The claims are said to have come from the independent review panel led by former HS2 Ltd chairman Douglas Oakervee, who was asked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to look into whether to scrap the railway.A separate report published last month suggested costs could soar by more than £20 billion to £88 billion.A Department for Transport spokesman said: "The Secretary of State has established an independent review into HS2 which will provide the department with clear advice on how and whether the project should proceed."We are not going to pre-empt or prejudice this work with a running commentary on the review's progress."HS2 has suffered a series of setbacks, most recently with the company building the high-speed railway having to postpone work affecting 11 ancient woodlands in Warwickshire and Staffordshire. The work had been due to go ahead this autumn but has been deferred until 2020.In September, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps published a report which suggested the project could be delayed by up to seven years and run £26 billion over budget.His warning was based on the results of a separate review carried out by HS2 Ltd, the Government-funded firm building the railway.The report by HS2 Ltd chairman Allan Cook stated the original plans "did not take sufficient account" of the effect of building a high-speed line through areas that are densely populated and with challenging ground conditions.