Government urged to abandon current plans

Tory MPs have urged the government to abandon its current plans for the High Speed 2 rail link.

The Conservative Transport Group said the route to Birmingham through the Chilterns was fundamentally flawed.

In response to the government HS2 consultation, the group said the rail line should be routed away from open countryside and instead run alongside the M40 and the existing Chiltern railway line and should interchange with Heathrow rather than Old Oak Common in London, which is 12km further east.

The group also urged the government to carefully consider the business case before giving the project the go-ahead.

It said: “Our fear is that HS2’s demand modelling is over-optimistic, with the result that there is a call on the public purse to subsidise operations.”

On Wednesday the Bank of England cut its UK growth forecast for 2011 from 1.8% to about 1.5%, warning that the “headwinds are growing stronger by the day”.