‘HS2 start may be two years later than orig­i­nally planned’

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Re­porter Name re­porter.name@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

HS2 LTD have dis­missed claims the pro­ject could be started two years late, with work not be­gin­ning un­til 2020.

The Con­struc­tion Prod­ucts As­so­ci­a­tion (CPA), which rep­re­sents the UK’s man­u­fac­tur­ers and dis­trib­u­tors of con­struc­tion prod­ucts and ma­te­ri­als, made pre­dic­tions for the late start in the sum­mer in­dus­try forecast.

Their pre­dic­tions echo those raised in pre­vi­ous re­ports from the Gov­ern­ment’s own Ma­jor Projects Au­thor­ity, that “con­cerns re­gard­ing plan­ning and fi­nanc­ing” will be a hin­der­ance.

The CPA also be­lieve peo­ple af­fected by HS2 will cause de­lays through ap­peals, halt­ing the main civil en­gi­neer­ing works un­til five years from now.

Dr Noble Fran­cis, eco­nom­ics di­rec­tor at CPA, 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 those 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.”

HS2 spokesman Richard Pain dis­missed the con­cerns.

He 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 1, we re­main con­fi­dent that the main con­struc­tion of HS2 will start in 2017, with civil work to be­gin in 2018.

“Sub­stan­tive de­sign work, sur­vey­ing and ground in­ves­ti­ga­tions along the en­tire route of HS2 Phase 1 is al­ready un­der way and, fol­low­ing on from ex­ten­sive in­dus­try com­mu­ni­ca­tion and sup­ply chain en­gage­ment work, we plan to start the pro­cure­ment process for civil con­tracts this au­tumn.”

Stop HS2 cam­paign man­ager, Joe Rukin, says adding another two or three years would be “no sur­prise” to them, as the cur­rent sched­ule for HS2 con­struc­tion is al­ready two years be­hind the orig­i­nal timetable.

He said: “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. The thing is, it al­ways turns out those im­par­tial ex­perts were right and HS2 Ltd were wrong.

“The cur­rent con­sul­ta­tion on changes to HS2 was meant to have con­cluded by now, but has been ex­tended be­cause of a mul­ti­tude of er­rors. This, con­tin­ual am­ber-red rat­ings from the ma­jor projects au­thor­ity, and facts such as there still be­ing no de­sign for Eus­ton Sta­tion, clearly in­di­cate that HS2 Ltd are get­ting even fur­ther be­hind.

“The other thing which ev­ery­one has to re­mem­ber is that the fur­ther HS2 falls be­hind sched­ule, the more the 2011 based £50bn cost will go up.”

n UN­DER THREAT: Hare­field Ma­rina is one of the ar­eas which would be af­fected by HS2

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.