HS2 rail line from Birmingham to Leeds ‘probably won’t go ahead’

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The extension of the HS2 rail line from Birmingham to Leeds may never go ahead, a Labour peer has warned.

Lord Adonis spoke out after the Government deferred the design on the eastern leg of the project.

He claimed ministers were “delaying indefinitely” the building of the beleaguered HS2 between the Midlands and Yorkshire.

The former transport minister wrote: “By deferring decisions on the eastern leg of HS2 while confirming the Manchester leg, the Leeds leg will probably not now go ahead.

“The economic and social consequences of today’s HS2 ­decision are profound.

“Metropolitan growth in England north of London will now concentrate on the Birmingham-Manchester corridor.

The eastern side of England, without HS2, is downgraded.

“A catastrophically big and bad decision.”

But HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson branded Lord Adonis’ comments “simply untrue”.

He said: “We’ve always been clear that the eastern leg is being considered under our ­Integrated Rail Plan, which by the end of the year will outline how we will deliver better, more reliable services across the North and Midlands.”

Tim Wood, a director at Transport for the North, a cross-party group of northern leaders, said: “We ­absolutely want to see the HS2 eastern leg developed.

“It dovetails entirely with our plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail and would deliver unrivalled rail connectivity to communities.

“That’s not only better and faster services to the likes of Leeds and Sheffield, but further beyond to the North East and Scotland.”

HS2 has beset with delays, spiralling costs and the impact on communities along the route.

A government commissioned review warned last year the final bill could reach £106billion.