(2) what the estimated total (a) capital and (b) revenue expenditure will be on the High Speed 2 route from (i) London to Birmingham and (ii) London to Manchester over the period of construction;
(3) what estimated (a) capital and (b) revenue expenditure will be incurred for the 335 mile Y network proposed in the High Speed Rail Command Paper over the period of construction.
HS2 Ltd estimate that the capital cost of construction of the recommended high speed rail line from London to the West Midlands is between £15.8 billion and £17.4 billion. The estimated capital cost of construction for new lines from the West Midlands to the North West, and to Yorkshire via the East Midlands, is £5.4-5.8 billion (depending on routeing at Manchester) and £5.8 billion, respectively. All figures are in 2009 prices, include risk and optimum bias, and exclude rolling stock costs.
Unlike the London to the West Midlands cost estimate, those for the legs north of the West Midlands are not based on engineered routes. HS2 Ltd has been asked to carry out similar detailed planning work on route options from the West Midlands to Manchester and Leeds, to be completed in summer 2011, with a view to consulting the public early in 2012.
Estimates of revenue expenditure during construction would be developed at a later stage were the Government to decide to proceed following public consultation.
The Government will not take a decision on the route of any high speed line from London to the West Midlands until public consultation has taken place. The route recommended by HS2 Ltd., which follows the A413 corridor and which the Government agree should form the basis of consultation, was considered to be the preferred route option because it offers cost and journey time advantages and because its local and environmental impacts are on balance lower than those of the two other routes short-listed by HS2 Ltd.
In particular, its environmental impacts are reduced by following existing transport corridors for more than half the distance travelled at surface level through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. HS2 Ltd. considered a number of further routes which it did not shortlist; the Government agreed that these were significantly inferior.
Further detail is set out in the Command Paper and supporting documents which were published on 11 March 2010.
The Secretary of State has received a number of requests, both verbal and written, from a number of sources, including hon. Members.
(2) what assessment he made of the merits of choosing a route alongside existing railway lines as the preferred route for the high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham.
HS2 Ltd. drew up and assessed a large number of potential route options, including routes following several different existing motorway and mainline transport corridors. The process of route selection which the company undertook is set out at section 3.5 of its report to the Government, found at:
This includes detailed explanation of the sifting out of potential options, including the M1 and M40 corridors. The Government agree with HS2 Ltd.’s assessment of route options.
As set out in the Secretary of State’s letter dated 18 March to HS2 Ltd., a copy of which is available in the Libraries of the House and on the Department’s website at:
HS2 Ltd. will report to the Government by the end of August, in preparation for the formal public consultation in the autumn.