ANTI-HS2 campaigners have greeted news the budget for the London to Birmingham rail link through the Chilterns is expected to come in more than £7billion under budget with scepticism.
The chief engineer for the project Andrew McNaughton told New Civil Engineer magazine he believed the scheme ‘will cost as little as £25bn rather than the often quoted £32.7bn’.
He added his team at HS2 Ltd, the body responsible for the project, as a ‘£25bn project’ and they have ‘no intention of going near [the £32.7bn]’ earmarked.
Chalfont St Peter Parish Councillor and anti-HS2 campaigner Isobel Darby said: “I’ll believe it when I see it – it’s difficult to comment until we know how he’s got to that figure in the first place to be honest.
Great Missenden campaigner and Stop HS2 member Mark Ladd said: “I’ve never known a government project to come in under budget and as an accountant I don’t know where they are getting their costings from – they haven’t even appointed a contractor yet, so how can they say that?”
He added: “The business case is getting worse and worse all the time, The Spectator article recently summed how other politicans feel about it (senior ministers were quoted as saying the project was ‘dead in the water’) and the compensation scheme consultation was supposed to take place in the spring and has been delayed.”
Stop HS2 Amersham Action Group’s Chris Wilson said: “I think that’s rubbish, these government infrastructure projects always come in over budget and there’s no way if they quoted £33bn it’s going backwards now especially now they’re doing all this extra tunnelling.
“They’ve still got to do due diligence on the environmental impact assessment and I'm sure once they see all the geological factors it will go up again.”
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