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HS2 review slammed: ‘Like conducting open-heart surgery on a moving patient’

Labour peer Andrew Adonis has slammed the ongoing HS2 review in the House of Lords, calling it a “bizarre” undertaking.

During a debate on a bill for the HS2 extension from Birmingham to Crewe, the former head of the National Infrastructure Commission pointed out repeatedly that the project had already achieved “emphatic consent” in both parliamentary houses.

Lord Adonis added: “The line is being built. More than £5bn has been spent and more than 1,000 people work at HS2 Ltd in Birmingham.”

He then compared the project’s review to “conducting open-heart surgery on a moving patient”.

Lord Adonis was responding to Conservative Lord Framlingham, who stated his disbelief that the bill was being debated as the project is “so obviously discredited and […] is probably about to be scrapped, with all the costs and damage involved”.

Lord Bradshaw backed the HS2 bill, which was later passed, on environmental grounds, stating that a “fully electric railway such as HS2 has the potential to make a very significant contribution to making the country carbon-neutral”.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton defended the grounds for the review, saying the process for HS2 was “positive”. She added: “The review we are having is a sensible reconsideration of the facts. A sensible reconsideration should never be confused for a lack of support.”

On Monday, a group of major contractors signed a letter directed to Doug Oakervee, which stated that the cancellation of HS2 would drive up costs in the UK infrastructure market due to added risk premiums.

Yesterday, at the launch of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) State of the Nation report, Royal Town Planning Institute chief executive Victoria Hills called for an end to indecision over the future of the project.

She said: “It’s odd now that if we reflect back to the vote in the House of Commons in 2014 when there was all-party parliamentary support for this national infrastructure project – you reflect on how we got to where we are now.

“I think the last thing we need is more uncertainty for nationally important infrastructure projects that have cross-party support. What we do need to do is get a grip with the issues that are playing out at the moment.”

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