HS2 costs could dou­ble, claims Lord Berke­ley

Rail (UK) - - Network News -

Lord Berke­ley has writ­ten to Com­mer­cial Sec­re­tary to the Trea­sury Baroness Rolfe, claim­ing that the cost of build­ing Phase 1 of High Speed 2 (HS2) could be dou­ble the £24 bil­lion quoted by min­is­ters in De­cem­ber 2016.

He cites anal­y­sis by quan­tity sur­veyor Michael Byng, which con­cludes that Phase 1 could cost £47.98bn. Byng ex­presses con­cern over the ad­e­quacy of power sup­ply planned, the cost of build­ing new sta­tions at Old Oak Com­mon, Birm­ing­ham In­ter­change and Birm­ing­ham Cur­zon Street, the out­turn costs of sig­nalling sys­tems, and the pro­vi­sion of trans­port main­te­nance de­pots.

Berke­ley (pic­tured) said: “De­spite spend­ing over £1bn on con­sul­tants’ fees, HS2 has no cred­i­ble break­down of the costs of Phase 1. And de­spite sev­eral meet­ings, has pro­duced no se­ri­ous chal­lenge on scope or rates to Michael Byng’s es­ti­mate of £48bn for Phase 1.

“On the as­sump­tion that DfT es­ti­mates for Phases 2A and 2B are sim­i­larly some 50% low, the Trea­sury will have to sanc­tion an­other £50bn for these later phases if they are to hap­pen, tak­ing the whole project to over £100bn.

“Since ‘the Gov­ern­ment re­mains com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing HS2 within this funding en­ve­lope’ of the £55.7bn’ [Writ­ten An­swer HL4189], there needs to be an ur­gent and in­de­pen­dent au­dit of scope of project and costs be­fore any more ma­jor ex­pen­di­ture is com­mit­ted.”

HS2 spokesman Dan Ri­ley dis­puted Lord Berke­ley’s claims, say­ing: “HS2 rep­re­sents a once in a life­time chance to re­bal­ance the na­tional econ­omy. It will trans­form travel in this coun­try, con­nect­ing eight of the ten largest cities in the UK, as well as im­prov­ing ca­pac­ity for pas­sen­gers and pro­duc­tiv­ity for the econ­omy. We take our re­spon­si­bil­ity to the tax­payer very se­ri­ously and are con­fi­dent we can de­liver this project on time and on bud­get.”

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