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Bamford calls for lateral thinking on HS2

JCB chairman Lord Bamford has called for electricity cables to be laid along the route of HS2 to get value out of the escalating project costs.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph today he suggests that “there is a compelling logic to having a central spine to distribute the power up and down the country” and HS2, even if the Manchester line is cancelled, provides the perfect opportunity.

He writes: “Amid growing calls for HS2 to be scrapped, possibly in its entirety, in the wake of escalating costs, delays and proposed cuts to routes north of Birmingham, can I make an appeal for some lateral thinking?

“With much of the construction under way, or in some instances actually completed, why don’t we use the route to lay down the cabling infrastructure needed to support the anticipated growth in demand for electricity across the country?

“Some estimates suggest that electric cars and vans alone could increase demand for electricity by up to 100 terawatt hours by 2050. As we’re all going to be consuming a lot more electricity in the future, there is a compelling logic to having a central spine to distribute the power up and down the country. The spine is already there – it’s called HS2. In the same way as railway lines were installed beside canals in the 19th century, it makes sense to lay new, much-needed, better electricity infrastructure alongside a route that has already been opened up by the construction of HS2. Indeed, former power stations along the route – Rugeley in Staffordshire, for example – could be reconfigured or repurposed to distribute the power from the spine around the grid, if necessary.

“Lateral thinking is needed to secure some value from the considerable investment that has already been made in this project.”

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