The government is launching a review of high-speed rail link HS2 – with a “go or no-go” decision to be made by the end of the year, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said.
The review will consider whether and how the project to connect London, the Midlands and northern England should proceed, looking at costs and benefits.
Mr Shapps refused to rule out scrapping the project entirely.
He said it was “responsible” to see if it was “going to stack up”.
The first segment of the HS2 development between London and Birmingham is due to open at the end of 2026, with the second phase to Leeds and Manchester scheduled for completion by 2032-33.
When asked about the £7bn already spent on the project, Mr Shapps said: “Just because you’ve spent a lot of money on something does not mean you should plough more and more money into it.”
The review will be chaired by Douglas Oakervee, a civil engineer who served as chairman of the Crossrail project between 2005 and 2009.
Lord Berkeley, another civil engineer who worked on the construction of the Channel Tunnel, will act as his deputy.
A final report will be sent to the government in the autumn.