MPs in the House of Commons voted in favour of phase one of the HS2 rail link project, which will run between London and Birmingham. The legislation will now go to the House of Lords. High Speed UK (HSUK) experts, Colin Elliff and Quentin Macdonald, founders said: “It is deeply worrying that only one option for a high speed rail line has ever been presented to Parliament. There is no evidence that HS2, either with or without HS3, has ever been designed as a national network and there has been no consideration as to how the line will operate.

“It beggars belief that MPs can blithely nod through a scheme that has been so ill-informed from the outset.

“HS2 Ltd knows all about the superior HSUK alternative, but continues to pursue its own discredited proposals. This constitutes fundamental abuse of due process. As a result of ignoring Government policy on transport, regional development, the environment and land use, the resulting HS2 design is a hopeless mess.

“It is impossible for HS2 to work as an efficient national network and there are countless failures to the designs put forward by HS2 which in our view render it utterly unfit for purpose. It seems abundantly clear that there has been a catastrophic failure in the processes underpinning the Government’s HS2 project and it is necessary to determine exactly how and why the HS2 project has gone so badly wrong.”

HSUK’s campaign coordinator, Jack Irvine added: “The last week has demonstrated beyond doubt that this government, and Chancellor George Osborne in particular, finds it challenging to analyse complex political and financial situations, although it is encouraging that he changes his mind with alacrity, especially when he sees disaster looming. I have no doubt the UK Parliament have embarked on a project that will have disastrous consequences, both financially and from an infrastructure point of view. The electorate should also note that MPs, desperate to get away for their Easter break, took a mere 37 minutes to discuss what will almost certainly be the biggest project of this century.

“Lastly, the chief flaw in Mr Osborne’s skewed logic is that faster rail links will indeed have a major effect on the economy – the London economy!

“Nobody in the City I know is desperate to get to the north of England or Scotland any quicker, however Northern business people will simply find London a more attractive destination to do business and benefit the already wildly successful economy. That rather blows Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse rationale for HS2 out of the water.”