… delays on the high speed report

Last autumn, the National Audit office announced two studies into HS1, Britain’s first high speed rail link.

The National Audit website says about the studies

The NAO will examine the preparations for the sale of the High Speed One and whether the Department achieved a good deal. This will bring our previous work on the project from 2001 and 2005 (The Channel Tunnel Rail Link, HC 302 Session 2000-01 and Progress on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, HC 77 Session 2005-06) up to date, and will reflect the opening of the line to St Pancras and the operation of high speed domestic services to Kent.

In a separate study, we will examine whether the project is delivering the benefits expected from it and draw out wider lessons from the construction of High Speed One which might be applied to other major government infrastructure projects. Both studies form part of our work on cost-effective delivery.

(The leasehold for HS1 was sold to a Canadian pension company for 30 years for £2.1 bn – about a third of the construction cost – in 2010.)

The publication date on the NAO website is “early 2012”, so a Stop HS2 supporter contacted the NAO to ask when he might expect to see it published.

He received the following in an email

The two studies have been combined and will be published as one report. At present, the aim is to publish in the Spring.

The publication dates of our reports are necessarily vague because they are published as House of Commons papers. As such, they must be laid before Parliament before they can be published more widely – and our publishing schedule is, therefore, dependent on this. We will often not be in a position to update our ‘work in progress’ pages with a definite publication date until a week or so beforehand.

However, having checked with the study team I can confirm that the report is unlikely to be published this month.

As our supporter commented in his email to us

“It is interesting to note that its publication date seems to be slipping. The cynical view is that the findings may not help the cause of HS2.”

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