HS2 ‘danger of coming off the rails’

The Independent on Sunday published a list of five current problems with HS2 yesterday. This was just one of a number of articles critical of HS2 published by different papers at the weekend, which between them covered just a few of the current problems and issues with HS2.

The Independent’s said that “HS2 executives have been “spooked” by an unexpectedly early National Audit Office (NAO) probe”, which they had expected to come later this year. They point out that the NAO have already criticised both the business case and the economic rationale behind HS2, over the last few years.

They also warns of “fears the 1,300-person project team, HS2 Ltd, isn’t ready to oversee such a massive project, as a long delayed Cabinet Office review begins.” The Cabinet Office’s Review was due last autumn, but had been delayed amid concerns that HS2 Ltd would fail it.

Ironically, given that HS2 is meant to relieve congestion on the line between London and Birmingham, they have also found that many senior staff are have refusing to relocate from London to the new HQ in Birmingham, with a number of staff commuting by train from London.

The Independent also warned that government ministers are concerned that the Phase 1 Hybrid Bill will get bogged down in the House of Lords. A government source warning that it was unlikely to get Royal Assent by the end of 2016.

The Independent’s final issue is that the appointment of a private sector partner to run the project has been delayed twice in the past few weeks. This was due today, but has been delayed further for “media management reasons”, or rather, government spin.

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