HS2 costs could double, claims Lord Berkeley
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.”