The mayor of London says “it has to be right for London” and that the £32bn scheme needs further justification
London mayor Boris Johnson has criticised the current HS2 plans and said: “It has to be right for London.”
Johnson has revealed that he is concerned about the effect the £32bn scheme could end up having on west London. He said: “This is not the end of campaigning against HS2. There is no point spending this much on something which doesn’t work properly. The business case needs to be properly made out.”
The plans, which were given the green light by transport secretary Justine Greening last week, included three miles of extra tunnelling to appease protesters. Johnson has said he is “glad the government listened” to him over the Northolt tunnel. He is now planning to push for a new Crossrail line between north and south London for when HS2 is up and running, the London Evening Standard reported.
Despite his apprehension over the current plan, Johnson has expressed how he remains a “passionate supporter of HS2 in principle”. A source close to the mayor also told the newspaper that claims Johnson wants HS2 scrapped are wide of the mark. The source said he will just do “everything he can” to ensure it is the best possible deal for local residents.
A City Hall source said: “As long as there are still people in west London unhappy with the HS2 plans, the mayor will convey that to the government…?We are not going to take our eye off the ball.”
However, the Department for Transport (DfT) has stressed that London will be the main beneficiary from the plan, which will see trains travelling at 225mph between London and Birmingham from 2026.
“London will be one of the big winners from HS2. It will deliver improved connectivity with our great northern cities, extra space on the existing lines for more commuter services, a completely revamped Euston station, a brand-new interchange station at Old Oak Common and more than 20,000 jobs for Londoners,” a DfT spokesman said.
“But we realise the concerns of those affected by the route, which is why the majority of the line through the city is in tunnel… a new bored tunnel along the Northolt corridor significantly reduces the number of properties at risk of land take and avoids major works to the Chiltern Line.”
The mayor’s spokesman said: “Yes there are still threats from HS2 but there are enormous opportunities too.
“We must get the balance right between ensuring the understandable concerns of residents are heard and that the potential benefits are secured.”