In 2015 the cost for HS2 was £56bn, but a leak from the still unpublished Oakervee report says that costs could increase by 20%. From the last estimated price for the project of between £81bn and £88bn to £106bn.
This has prompted the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps to ask for more information before making a decision on the future of the project.
There was further information in this report calling for work to be put on hold on the second phase of the link between the West Midlands, Manchester, and Leeds. The reason for this is to decide whether this section should be made up of a mixture of high-speed and conventional lines.
However, this information has concerned politicians in the North of England. Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester told the BBC: “To me that would be the same old story. London to Birmingham, money is no object, and then all the penny pinching is done in the North of England. That would not be acceptable to me, and I’m sure wouldn’t be acceptable to many other leaders across the north.”
The review, led by Doug Oakervee the former chairman of HS2, has recommended that the Government should push ahead with the project. However, in the review he suggests that more work should be done in order to see how much impact there will be on economic growth.
There have also been delays to the project timeline. Originally the first part of the project between London and Birmingham was going to open by the end of 2026, but the current forecast shows that the opening date could now be as late as 2031. Furthermore, it has been revealed that the whole project may not be completed until 2040.
Paul Wormald, Hawsons transport & logistics partner commented: The HS2 saga continues… and clarity is desperately required regarding the future of the huge engineering project. Cancelling this project after the construction industry has made plans to recruit for and resource this project could inflict major damage on this key sector which is suffering from a reduction in other major projects.
From a connectivity perspective, we have seen recent criticism of Network Rail for its performance across the Northern corridor which emphasises the need for greater capacity on our rail network. HS2 and its successor projects are key to this.
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