Will soaring English land prices put another hole in Government’s "Swiss cheese" HS2?

Wednesday, September 11 2013

EU Transport Committee member Mike Nattrass MEP and Chartered Surveyor has questioned the Government’s grip over the HS2 budget, quoting a survey which shows the cost of farmland in the West Midlands has hit a “record high”

West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass says the Coalition Government is presiding over a Swiss cheese, following the publication of yet another hole in it, the RICS Rural Land Market Survey which shows farmland prices have more than trebled since 2004.

The RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) survey shows the cost of farmland has “jumped” to 7,440 per acre which is over three times that of 2004.. The question Mr Nattrass, a long-time campaigner against the rail line, asks is “How old is the current HS2 estimate and does it allow for the fact that land prices have risen three times since 2004?"

Mr Nattrass, who believes that the true cost of HS2 will considerably exceed 100 billion, said: "Can the English, who always pick up the tab, afford this Swiss cheese, as it may need a Swiss Bank to fund it !

"The HS2 business case is deeply flawed and will widen the North-South divide as those with skills will travel south to work. The English countryside will be destroyed for no good reason !

"A damning new report by the Public Accounts Committee makes grim reading for advocates of HS2 as it states the project ‘will not help regions’ and their economies.

"The Committee warned of sucking more activity into London, indeed branch offices close when journey times reduce, as with the Japanese experience. I will continue to fight HS2 as common sense must prevail,” added Mr Nattrass.