£2billion of the £33billion allocated for the HS2 high-speed rail link would provide more benefit to the economy if it was spent on cycling, says a new report.
It’s not the first time we’ve heard a call for spending some of the billions of the controversial rail project on cycling instead, but this time the plea comes from an independent think tank – the New Economics Foundation.
The foundation said that substantial financial support from central government for active transport – on a par with spending in the capital – could transform the cycling and walking landscape across the Midlands and North of England. It said: "Not only would this boost individual health and well-being, it would encourage low-carbon travel and help regional towns and cities become places where people want to live, and businesses want to locate."
The National Audit Office has also questioned the business case and funding of the project.
The New Economics Foundation continued: "Uncertainty around whether HS2 will actually meet its objectives is growing; it is vital that we have an open, informed debate on the scheme. That is why nef has developed an example of an ambitious, alternative transport investment package that, for £33 billion, could bring as many or more benefits as the new high-speed rail link.
"Compiled through interviews with transport experts, as well as a detailed review of government and academic literature, our package contains a total of 88 individual investments, falling into the following categories."
You can dig into the report here.