2020 forecast for HS2 work to start

Pro­ject group con­fi­dent work will start on time in 2017 Stop HS2 say pre­dic­tion comes as no sur­prise to them

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By Jack Abell jack.abell@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

CON­STRUC­TION ex­perts have pre­dicted that build­ing work on HS2 will not be­gin un­til 2020 – three years be­hind sched­ule.

In its sum­mer in­dus­try forecast, the Con­struc­tion Prod­ucts As­so­ci­a­tion cited con­cerns re­gard­ing plan­ning and fi­nanc­ing as rea­sons why it does not think that civil en­gi­neer­ing works will be start­ing on time in 2017.

It also says it ex­pects peo­ple af­fected by the con­tro­ver­sial pro­ject will add to the de­lay time be­cause of ap­peals.

The CPA’s eco­nom­ics di­rec­tor Dr Noble Fran­cis said: “When you look at ma­jor rail in­fra­struc­ture, there is usu­ally a sig­nif­i­cant pe­riod of time be­fore projects get off the ground.

“Thames­link was orig­i­nally the Thames­link 2000, Cross­rail was given the green light in 1990.

“You won’t see these sort of de­lays to this pro­ject, but when we are talk­ing about ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture, we as fore­cast­ers have to forecast a de­gree later than of­fi­cially stated.”

How­ever, the con­cerns have been dis­missed by HS2 Ltd, which says it ex­pects the pro­ject to start on time.

Spokesman Richard Pain said: “Suc­cess­ful plan­ning is the key to most ma­jor projects re­main­ing on sched­ule.

“Fol­low­ing a re­sound­ing back­ing from par­lia­ment at the sec­ond read­ing of the hy­brid bill for HS2 phase one, we re­main con­fi­dent that the main con­struc­tion of HS2 will start in 2017, with civics work to be­gin in 2018.”

Cam­paign­ers against the pro­ject say they also be­lieve the pro­ject will end up be­ing de­layed.

Joe Rukin, Stop HS2 cam­paign man­ager said: “As the cur­rent sched­ule for HS2 con­struc­tion is al­ready two years be­hind the orig­i­nal timetable, adding another two or three years would be no sur­prise to us.

“There have been con­cerns since the start that HS2 would be late and over bud­get, but de­spite the fact it is al­ready late and over bud­get, HS2 Ltd al­ways dis­miss any­one who crit­i­cises their com­pe­tence, no mat­ter how ex­pert and im­par­tial they are.”

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