The government has launched a review of the high speed rail link HS2 which will look at the carbon reductions that can be achieved in line with Britain’s net zero commitment, among other areas.
The Department for Transport said the review will consider “whether and how” to proceed with the project, which will connect London, the Midlands and northern England.
One of the areas the review is expected to “rigorously examine” and state its view on is the environmental benefit of the project.
Last year, plans to develop a “green corridor” with seven million new trees and shrubs alongside the HS2 railway line, consisting of new and existing wildlife habitat, were set out.
Earlier this year, HS2 Ltd also unveiled plans to use waste heat from the train line to keep hundreds of new homes warm in a sustainable way.
The independently led review will be chaired by civil engineer and former HS2 Ltd Chair Douglas Oakervee, who the government says has built up considerable knowledge on a wide range of major projects over 60 years of his career.
Lord Berkeley will act as Deputy Chair and will be supported by a panel of experts from across business, academia and the transport sector.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The Prime Minister has been clear that transport infrastructure has the potential to drive economic growth, redistribute opportunity and support towns and cities across the UK, but that investments must be subject to continuous assessment of their costs and benefits.
“That’s why we are undertaking this independent and rigorous review of HS2.
“Douglas Oakervee and his expert panel will consider all the evidence available and provide the department with clear advice on the future of the project.”
The first phase of the project between London and Birmingham is set to open in 2026, with the second phase to Leeds and Manchester planned for the early 2030s.
A final report is expected in the autumn.