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