Buckinghamshire MP's have released a joint statement regarding the Notice to Proceed which has been announced.

They said: "We are surprised and disappointed that the Department for Transport has issued the Notice to Proceed in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.

"Although the Prime Minister stated in February that HS2 would go ahead, the world has changed since then. In its own Business Case published today, the DfT states:

  • This Full Business Case (FBC) for HS2 Phase One was prepared prior to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the period of exceptional uncertainty that this has created for the UK economy
  • Rapid developments and the uncertain outcome of the Covid-19 outbreak mean it has not been possible within the FBC to undertake specific analysis to determine the outbreak’s potential longer-term impacts to transport passenger demand."
  • Covid-19 on long-term demand and economic growth it is not possible to say whether this will materially impact the Value for Money of HS2.

They believe these points highlight that the impact of Covid-19 has not been taken into account, yet it is already acknowledged that demand has fallen.

They also think that the coronavirus pandemic will change the way travel happens long-term in the future.

The MP's are appealing to the government to wait and reasses the case for HS2 after the pandemic.


The Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham said: “With the warnings from the Office of Budget Responsibility yesterday that GDP could shrink by 35%, we should not be taking additional steps to cement our commitment and finances to an infrastructure project where the business case is now officially “poor”.

"I will be writing to the National Audit Office to call for an immediate examination of this Notice to Proceed at a time when the country’s finances will be needed to rescue our economy rather than continuing with the construction of HS2.”

Steve Baker, MP for Wycombe said: “I have opposed HS2 ever since I was first elected in 2010. It is a bad-value white elephant. If the construction sector is now dependent on the project, that is a very bad thing, not a good reason to proceed in the context of this pandemic.”

Rob Butler, MP for Aylesbury said: “Sadly this moment felt inevitable after the government decided to approve HS2 back in February.

"But at a time when our economy is being battered by the consequences of the coronavirus, I entirely agree with local residents and businesses who say that our country can't afford it.

"And I share the bitter disappointment of the thousands of people throughout the Aylesbury constituency who have fought long and hard against this railway."

Joy Morrissey, MP for Beaconsfield said: “This is deeply disappointing at such a difficult time, and is causing distress to local residents at a moment when we should all be pulling together.”

Greg Smith, MP for Buckingham said: “Serious questions need to be asked about the suitability of HS2 Ltd to act as custodians of taxpayers’ money to deliver this railway. In February the Prime Minister acknowledged that HS2 Ltd needed to fundamentally change.

"HS2 Ltd’s abject failure to act responsibly during the Covid-19 crisis does nothing to demonstrate any such change has occurred."