Latest Rail News

28.07.16

HS2 appoints interim construction commissioner

HS2 has appointed an interim commissioner to mediate in disputes arising from the construction of the high-speed rail.

Gareth Epps’ role will include ensuring that people affected by HS2 know who the construction commissioner is and what they do, mediating in unresolved disputes between HS2 Ltd and individuals or bodies, including claims under the Small Claims Scheme.

He will also provide advice on how to make complaints, and also monitor complaints in order to support HS2 in reducing the overall number.

Epps said: “Urban and rural communities will see construction and while HS2 Ltd and its contractors will take steps to minimise disruption, it is important that residents and businesses along the route know they can seek fair and independent resolution of complaints if necessary.”

He previously worked as community relations policy manager at Crossrail from 2005 to 2015, Green Issues Communications and as a communications officer for the Liberal Democrats.

Simon Kirby, chief executive of HS2 Ltd, said: “We recognise that people will be affected by the construction of the line and are thoroughly committed to ensuring that those people are treated fairly and all practicable measures are taken to minimise disruption.

“Improving our approach to affected communities is at the very top of our priority list. We are continuously striving to refine our complaints handling and improve community engagement. The appointment of an independent Construction Commissioner is a key part of that process.

 “We have recently made improvements to our complaints procedure and we aim to respond to any complaint in a fair and timely fashion but it is important that people can have their issue considered by an impartial party if they don’t feel it’s been satisfactorily resolved.”

Reports from Ian Bynoe, the former Independent Police Complaints Commissioner, and the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, have found significant failings in HS2’s handling of complaints by six families.

The DfT is now reviewing HS2’s plans for improving its community management.

This week Cllr Sarah Hayward, the leader of Camden County Council, accused HS2 of failing to involve Camden residents in a consultation on how to reduce the impact of developments on the Hampstead Road Bridge.

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