die belebende Bedenkung

Not an authority

with 2 comments

Woodhead's fate is sealed (BBC News)

Woodhead’s fate is sealed (BBC News, 11 November 2013)

The government has asked HS2 Ltd chairman David Higgins to produce ambitious proposals for connecting Britain’s ‘great northern cities’, wrote transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin (in a statement to Parliament dated 7 July 2014).

This work will look at how to bring the benefits of high speed rail to the north more quickly, as well as initial proposals for faster east-west connections – including options on route, timescales and cost – by the time of the Autumn Statement later this year.

The government has asked the chairman of HS2 Ltd to produce proposals, not HS2 Ltd itself. The latter is a public authority falling under the Freedom of Information Act, but Mr Higgins is not an ‘authority’ in the terms of that legislation. So there is, in effect, no transparency.

One might also question whether Mr Higgins is an ‘authority’ in terms of transport planning, given the insubstantiality of his HS2 Plus report. How much of the HS2 Plus report was actually originated by Mr Higgins is unclear. For example, its random observations about FTSE companies are something which one might have expected Volterra to have come up with. And the proposals for a Crewe hub seem to be traceable to consultants engaged by Cheshire East council.

Written by beleben

July 10, 2014 at 12:07 pm

2 Responses

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  1. HS2 Plan B on the NorthStart website pre-dates HS3 by more than two years:

    Construction would start with a forty mile fast connector between Manchester and Leeds, using the existing rail corridor from Manchester Victoria to Rochdale then following the M62 corridor eastwards. It would involve tunnelling in its Pennine section, but it would halve the current rail time between the two city centres.

    This first stage would also fast-connect the stations of East Lancs to those of West Yorks, joining up a Northern Cities Crossrail from Liverpool in the west to York and Hull in the east. It would also fast-connect an economy of northern urban centres with the catchment size, city centre buzz, talent pools, SMEs, Russell Group universities, design and technology skills, research and spending power seen by the BBC’s recent ‘Mind The Gap’ two-parter, with Evan Davies reporting, as the sort of urban ‘agglomeration’ essential to compete with London and other world-cities:

    HS2 will not do this. Worse, its speed-first London-Birmingham first stage risks adding central Birmingham to the London economic catchment, setting the North South Divide in stone.

    Michael Wand

    July 11, 2014 at 8:27 am

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