die belebende Bedenkung

They love HS2 longtime

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HS2 could help “boost growth”, but only if accompanied by additional investment to improve local transport links, says “Britain’s leading transport think-tank”, the Financial Times reported (paywall).

[‘HS2 can help boost growth if planned properly, says think-tank’, Mark Odell, October 20, 2013]

[…] The first significant non-partisan study of HS2’s economic impact urges the government to frame the £50bn high-speed project as a national debate about growth and to put in place the investment needed to support regional development.

The findings by the Independent Transport Commission should provide some relief to ministers who were once again forced on the defensive at the weekend over claims that the proposed new railway between London and the north would damage the economies of some parts of the UK not on its route.
The report, due out this week, draws on evidence from more than 150 organisations and individuals, including supporters and opponents of the project.

It would be quite worrying if government spending of £50 billion did not have growth effects. No doubt, HS2 would create thousands of jobs too. After all, projects like Concorde created and sustained thousands of jobs, and had growth-engendering effects. Does that mean Concorde was a good investment for the exchequer?

It might be illuminating to consider how spending £50(?) billion on HS2 would compare against spending the same amount on other transport projects, industrial R&D, secondary schools, or whatever, but that is not addressed by the ITC (or in KPMG’s Regional Impacts report).

To find the Independent Transport Commission is in favour of HS2 is not altogether a startling piece of news. According to Wikipedia, it was founded after Stephen Joseph, director of Transport 2000 (now the Campaign for Better Transport) suggested to Bernard Jenkin, the then Conservative Shadow Transport Secretary, that he would benefit from the services of a ‘think tank’. The Commission’s “independence” might also be more than a little constrained through having no endowment, and depending upon donations.

So who are its donors?

[from the ITC website]
Grants and Benefactors

The Trustees have pleasure in acknowledging the generous support of our Core Benefactors. Our core supporters are major companies and organisations who have kindly backed the ITC’s mission and charitable research with a multi-year commitment to grant funding.

Drawn from across the transport and land use worlds, our team of core benefactors enable the ITC’s charitable work to continue:


Arup Group Limited,

Associated British Ports,

Balfour Beatty,

Bircham Dyson Bell,

Birmingham Airport,

British Land,


Gatwick Airport,

Go Ahead Group,

Heathrow Airport,

International Airlines Group,

Network Rail,

Peter Brett Associates,


and Transport for London,

We are also grateful for our ‘Silver Supporters’ – who have committed to support the ITC at a lower threshold. These supporters include Stephen Rinsler, Director of Bisham Consulting, High Speed One, and URS. We gratefully acknowledge their support.

Since its launch in October 1999 the Commission has also been fortunate to receive research grants from the following organisations:

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Sainsbury Family Trusts

Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

Rees Jeffreys Road Fund

Norwich Union

Department for Transport

The Trustees are deeply grateful for the support of these generous bodies.

In essence, the ITC appears to be largely dependent on the HS2 industry for its income. And its Patrons are drawn from a fairly small coterie.

The Rt Hon Lord Andrew Adonis PC

Lord Andrew Adonis is one of Britain’s most impressive Parliamentarians, having served as Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Education and Secretary of State for Transport from 2009 to 2010. Following a D.Phil. at Oxford on the British aristocracy of the late 19th century, he was appointed a Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, after which he joined the Financial Times, becoming public policy editor. He later headed the No 10 Policy Unit before being elevated to a Peerage in 2005. From 2010 to 2012 he was Director of the Institute for Government.

The Rt Hon The Lord Freeman PC

Baron Freeman has a long and distinguished Parliamentary career, having been Minister of State for Transport and later Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the Cabinet of John Major. He was responsible for passing many significant developments in UK transport policy, including the Railways Act 1993. He was elevated to the Peerage in 1997, and is currently Chairman of the Carlton Club and a director of various leading private sector firms.

Sir Patrick Brown, KCB

Sir Patrick Brown was the top civil servant in the Department for Transport, serving as Permanent Secretary from 1991 to 1997. Following this, he was instrumental in establishing the ITC as the leading research voice for transport, serving as the Commission’s Chairman from 1999 to 2007. His wealth of business experience includes service as the Chairman of Go-Ahead Group, and as a non-executive director of Camelot Group and Northumbria Water.

Sir Terry Farrell, CBE, RIBA, FRSA, FCSD

Sir Terry Farrell is one of the world’s most renowned architects and urban thinkers. He has been responsible for some of the most important transport projects of recent times, including the design of Charing Cross Station, London, Incheong Airport Transportation Centre in Seoul, Beijing South Railway Station, and the Kowloon Station and Masterplan in Hong Kong. He is a champion of better placemaking and the author of numerous leading books on architecture and urban design, including Buckingham Palace Redesigned (2003) and Shaping London (2009). He was knighted in 2001 and is the recipient of numerous international awards.

Professor Sir Peter Hall, FBA

Professor Sir Peter Hall has long been renowned as one of the world’s leading academics and thinkers on urban geography. He was appointed to the Chair of Planning at the Bartlett, University College London, in 1992, before which he was Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His books, including The World Cities (1966), Cities of Tomorrow (1988) and Sociable Cities (1998) have been groundbreaking and translated into numerous languages. His reputation resulted in an appointment as Special Advisor on Strategic Planning to the British Government (1991-94) and a member of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Urban Task Force (1998-99). Sir Peter is President of the Town and Country Planning Association, a Fellow of the British Academy and was knighted in 1998.

ITC patrons Andrew Adonis, Prof Peter Hall, and Terry Farrell are longtime ‘confirmed supporters’ of the HS2 project. Prof Hall was appointed to Greengauge 21’s Advisory Panel and Mr Farrell has worked on rather crass designs for HS2 stations at Old Oak Common and Crewe.

Written by beleben

October 21, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

3 Responses

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  1. As Mark Odell points out below the article the funders have no input on what topics they choose to look at and no influence over the conclusions of the report, while the ITC’s official position remains neutral.


    October 24, 2013 at 11:31 am

    • The facts are

      * the Independent Transport Commission is dependent on funding from the HS2 industry

      * at least three of the Commission’s patrons have close connections with the HS2 industry

      * the ITC HS2 report reads like an advertorial piece for the HS2 industry. As well as including Terry Farrell’s Old Oak Common visualisation, one of the report’s authors worked for him.


      October 24, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      • It receives funding from organisations to do with pretty much every aspect of transport in this country, some of which would support HS2, some of which wouldn’t, and some of which are unlikely to have much of an opinion either way. As for it’s patrons, they aren’t the ones writing up the report….


        October 25, 2013 at 1:49 am

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