HS2 LAND ACQUISITION COST HAS TREBLED IN SIX YEARS
Bosses say rise is ‘normal for a programme of this scale’
HS2 has responded to reports that found the cost estimate for land acquisition has almost trebled by saying that the report also shows that the increase is “normal”.
The report published by the National Audit Office (NAO) revealed that: “In 2012, HS2 Ltd estimated that the acquisition programme would cost £1.12 billion (2011 prices). HS2 Ltd provided cost estimates to Parliament as required and by the time the hybrid bill for Phase One was sent to Parliament in 2013 this estimate had increased to £1.6bn (2011 prices). The most recent estimate in 2017 was £3.3bn.”
HS2 says that the NAO report shows the acquisition programme remains on track and that it also highlights the increase in cost is normal for a programme of this scale and complexity.
An HS2 spokesperson said: “We welcome the NAO report which shows that HS2’s land acquisition programme remains on track. The overall cost of the land acquisition programme reflects changes to scope, land value and parliamentary amendments. Much of this is as result of public consultation.
“The NAO highlight that this is normal for a programme of HS2’s scale and complexity.
“HS2 Ltd wants to ensure all payments to those affected are timely as well as being fair to them and to the taxpayer. The majority of those who apply for early payments receive them and we are working to ensure that this applies to all cases where we have enough information to assess the payment.”
Dame Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham, has hit out at HS2 for its “poor management, poor corporate governance and failures to communicate” and hopes that plans will ”hit the buffers”.
“This project has been one of poor management, poor corporate governance and failures to communicate,” she said, pointing out the trouble caused by the mismanagement of the Roberts Lane closure, in Chalfont St Peter, and the delays to the link road construction.
“It took more than a month from the last known completion date for the link road to tell residents that it had been delayed another six months,” the MP said.
“I hope HS2 will hit the buffers,” she added, citing the cases of constituents who have “had to fight tooth and nail for compensation to get the value of their properties, and in fact are losing out overall because it will be HS2 that capitalises on their properties.
“They have lost their homes and, in some cases, their livelihoods.”