Daily Mail

HS2 faces delay over runaway costs


THE HS2 rail project could be delayed among a number of options being considered to curb rising costs.

Boss Mark Thurston said the impact of inflation on the project over the past year has been ‘significan­t... whether that’s in timber, steel, aggregates for all the concrete we need to use to build the job, labour, all our energy costs, fuel’.

Phase 1 of HS2 involves the railway being built between London and Birmingham, with the line extended from the West Midlands to Crewe in Phase 2a.

Phase 2b will connect Crewe to Manchester, and the West Midlands to the East Midlands.

The target cost of Phase 1 is currently £40.3billion at 2019 prices and is due to open between 2029 to 2033.

The cost of the whole project has risen and risen over the years, up from £33billion in 2010 to at least £71billion now. In an interview with the BBC, Mr Thurston said HS2 was in discussion with suppliers and the Government on finding ways to minimise the soaring costs.

He said: ‘We’re looking at the timing of the project, the phasing of the project, we’re looking at where we can use our supply chain to secure a lot of those things that are costing us more through inflation.’

His comments come after rail minister Huw Merriman told MPs on Thursday that the Government was still fully behind the project.

He told the House of Commons: ‘We are absolutely committed to delivering HS2... But we have to look at cost pressures, it’s absolutely right that HS2 focuses on costs.’

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