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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Civil engineering insights on HS2 and alternative proposals

The UK needs additional rail capacity for passengers and freight along key corridors to meet future demand growth, help rebalance its economy and deliver net-zero.

HS2 is a key part of the government’s transport strategy to achieve these objectives.

This insight paper covers:

  • The status of HS2,

  • The proposed benefits of HS2,

  • Evidence from other high-speed rail schemes,

  • Whether the UK still needs HS2,

  • Concerns about the costs, impact and effectiveness of HS2, and

  • Alternative approaches to HS2 and increasing rail capacity.

This paper is an update to an insight paper first published in September 2019. It has been informed by available published evidence and insight from ICE fellows. 

Jonathan Spruce, ICE Trustee for Policy and External Affairs, said: "As we emerge from the pandemic, politicians are starting to think long-term about the shape of the UK transport network. Demand for rail services is still predicted to rise 40% by 2040, and more rail capacity is needed to meet this demand, as well as deliver the major transport improvements required to meet national objectives such as reducing carbon emissions. “Whether or not we need High Speed 2 to achieve those objectives will be a question posed by some, particularly as the legislation for Phase 2b goes through Parliament. ICE's refreshed HS2 insight paper is a must-read for all sides of the debate and clearly sets out the facts on this vital project assessing the costs and benefits, as well as the concerns and proposed alternatives. “ICE continues to support the business case for HS2, but the government must do more to integrate it within the wider infrastructure system. The Integrated Rail Plan provides a strategic underpinning for how HS2 can help unlock further benefits in the North and the Midlands, but an IRP delivery plan is needed before the end of the year to avoid further costly delays.”

Download this report below.

Download PDF • 322KB


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