The authors of a report bolstering the controversial High Speed Two (HS2) rail link "have defended their work in the face of intense scrutiny from MPs and fierce criticism from transport experts", the Financial Times (subscription) reports. Auditors KPMG carried out the report on behalf of the government. The newspaper says that the study "estimated that building HS2 between London and the north could give the economy an annual boost of £15 billion". But the newspaper says the figure was questioned by MPs on the Treasury select committee yesterday with Andrew Tyrie MP, asking one of the report’s authors, Lewis Atter, whether the figure was the result of a "rubbish-in-rubbish-out computer model". According to the newspaper Atter responded: "If anything it feels a little undercooked".
But the Telegraph picks up on comments made at the committee meeting by a former member of "Whitehall’s high speed rail advisory panel". The newspaper says Henry Overman, professor of economic geography at the London School of Economics, "said he had quit the panel after he felt his role changed from providing independent advice to promoting the project". It says Overman said the £15 billion figure was "way, way too large".
Bristol is to announce "radical new proposals which will make it Britain’s first city to adopt Dutch-style cycle lanes", the Independent reports. According to the newspaper, the plans, to be announced later this year, "will see a network of segregated cycle lanes created. Around 100 miles of cycle ways will be set aside for a ‘primary network’ of major cycling routes".
Councils should use sheep to cut grass as a way of cutting expenditure, according to a list of money saving tips published by lobby group the Taxpayers Alliance, the Times (subscription) reports. According to the newspaper, the tips were drawn up by a councillor from the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham who claims they could save councils "hundreds of millions of pounds".