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HS2 rated ‘unachievable’ by major projects body

30 Jul 2023 2 minute read
Representation of what the new HS2 trains could look like. Photo HS2

The HS2 programme has been given an “unachievable” rating by the official infrastructure watchdog.

A “red” rating was assigned to the plans for the construction of the first two phases of the troubled rail line, from London to Birmingham and then on to Crewe in Cheshire, by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA).

The red rating, contained in the IPA’s annual report on major projects – which was released last week, states: “Successful delivery of the project appears to be unachievable.

“There are major issues with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable.

“The project may need re-scoping and/or its overall viability reassessed.”

Earlier this month, HS2 Ltd’s chief executive Mark Thurston, 56, announced his resignation amid major delays and cost pressures for the high-speed railway project.

He is to leave his role in September after six-and-a-half years leading the Government-owned company.

Rising costs

HS2 was initially scheduled to open in 2026, but this has been delayed to between 2029 and 2033 due to construction difficulties and rising costs.

A budget of £55.7 billion for the whole project was set in 2015, but the target cost excluding the eastern leg of Phase 2b from the West Midlands to the East Midlands has soared to between £53 billion and £61 billion at 2019 prices.

In March, Transport Secretary Mark Harper announced work at Euston would be paused for two years as costs had ballooned to £4.8 billion compared with an initial budget of £2.6 billion.

Mr Thurston’s resignation announcement came while Phase One of the project between London and Birmingham is at peak construction, with major work taking place at more than 350 sites.

The IPA is the Government’s centre of expertise for infrastructure and major projects. It sits at the heart of government and reports to the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Spades are already in the ground on HS2, with 350 construction sites, over £20 billion invested to date and supporting over 28,500 jobs.

“We remain committed to delivering HS2 in the most cost-effective way for taxpayers.

“HS2 will bring transformational benefits for generations to come, improving connections and helping grow the economy.”


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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
9 months ago

All of the things mentioned in the following quote are things that U and many, many others have been saying from the very start: ““There are major issues with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable.” If the person quoted was brave enough to speak truthfully they would have added that the environmental cost is catastrophic and one we cannot afford. The quote at the end of the article is exactly why people have lost faith in the political systems of the “UK”, a recitation of a… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
9 months ago

Just under£5 billion for one station in London, that money, which is ours, could solve major problems in our infrastructure, overnight. Where are our Westminster MP’s , why are they not demanding, shouting out loud for this money at every opportunity.

Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
9 months ago

H S 2 Tory Vanity project it was classed as a WHITE ELEPHANT from the start Wales got sod all out of it when Scotland and Northern Ireland because its classed as a england and Wales project it comes around 50 miles at its nearest to Wales i hope if labour do get in they abandon it

Sean T
Sean T
9 months ago
Reply to  Dai Ponty

I’m afraid that there’s very little hope of that, and under the current leadership none at all.

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 months ago

“…..Successful delivery of the project appears to be unachievable. “There are major issues with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable….” Such is the nature of pet/vanity projects yet it is this type of spend that is cetral to the UK government’s “planning” for the future. Looks like it will hit the buffers hard despite not having a train on it.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
9 months ago

The amount of money solely spent on English infrastructure is vulgar compared to the pitiful amount for Wales . And not once have I heard Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies and WOM David TC Davies, the tweedledum and dumber of Welsh politics, criticise the billions haemorrhaging out of the “English” Treasury, not once. And the irony is. We have the English Tory government’s own watchdog rate HS2 as “unachievable” , and in the past have witnessed the Welsh Conservatives attack the Welsh Government for cancelling the £1.4 billion proposed M4 relief road due to rising costs where England has… Read more »

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