If anyone thought that selecting Tony Berkeley as deputy chair of the panel commissioned to examine the viability of High Speed 2 would get one of the programme’s long-term critics on side, they will have been disappointed.

Berkeley backs Chiltern wires: the dissenting report suggests upgrades to the existing network in lieu of HS2. A Class 168 departs Leamington Spa on a Birmingham to Marylebone service.
Steve Hobson

In early January, with the findings of the Oakervee HS2 ‘rapid review’ commissioned by Government in August 2019 yet to be published, Lord Berkeley used the HS2 vacuum to publish his own ‘dissenting report’ which sets out his assessment of HS2 in advance of the official Oakervee verdict. He also castigates the review process, claiming that it shut out expert advice – including that of consultant Michael Byng, whom Lord Berkeley has relied on for alternative HS2 costings – and that despite being deputy chair of the panel he was prevented from attending key meetings.

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