New high speed train line hit by strong opposition

Julian Harris
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THE government yesterday launched its consultation into the proposed high speed rail link between London and Birmingham, amid a wave of complaints.

The new line, dubbed HS2, will cost an estimated £32bn – a bill described as “utterly indefensible” by the Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA).

“There are more affordable ways of getting the capacity needed,” said the TPA’s director Matthew Sinclair.

“A high speed line for the rich, on a route already served by very quick trains, cannot be the priority over giving ordinary families and firms across the country a better deal.”

The line also faces ongoing opposition from environmental groups, as well as some Conservative MPs whose rural constituencies the proposed line would cut through.

Opposition group “Stop HS2” described the line as “a complete waste of taxpayers’ money when we can least afford it.”

However, business groups such as the British Chambers of Commerce have supported the proposal.

The plan for a new high speed line to Birmingham and the north of England was originally proposed by the former Labour government, and has been adopted by the coalition.

Tory transport secretary Philip Hammond said the line could deliver £44bn for the economy over 60 years.