The Department for Transport (DfT) has said that it “does not recognise the evidence” put forward by the prime minister’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings in a recent blog that claims “garbage” data was used to approve HS2.
According to Cumming’s blog on the Substack website, which was first reported in The Telegraph, prime minister Boris Johnson was alerted to “absurdities” in evidence presented to him ahead of the decision to give contractors Notice to Proceed on the project in April last year.
Cummings claims that Johnson “blew” the decision on the project after reviewing “garbage model/graph” information supplied to him.
In the blog, Cummings said that in January last year the prime minister “was presented with ‘evidence’ showing exponential increase in HS2 demand – demand that, if taken seriously, would have meant the entire country either travelling on HS [high speed] rail” and “building HS3/HS4/HS5 in even shorter periods after 2040” was viable.
Cummings wrote: “A garbage model/graph was fed to a PM making a [more than] £100bn decision (which he blew despite us pointing out such absurdities in the ‘evidence’).”
A spokesperson for DfT told NCE: “We do not recognise the evidence being referred to in the blog in question.
“The capacity of the existing rail network cannot cope with the predicted growth in demand for rail travel, with HS2 serving as a long-term investment at the heart of our plans to build back better from Covid-19, bringing our biggest cities closer together and boosting productivity for many decades to come.”
Nonetheless, Cummings’ claims come just a week after it emerged that the cost of the Birmingham Interchange Station has jumped up by £100M to £370M as HS2 started the procurement process for the station.
In the last week, the National Audit Office has also said that more work must be done to understand the full cost of building HS2 and the length of time that it will take to build the railway.
Department of Civil Engineering Department of Civil Engineering – International Burch University (ibu.edu.ba)