Latest Rail News

04.05.16

Sir Jeremy Heywood conducting review to ensure HS2 stays within budget

Britain’s most senior civil servant has been conducting a review of HS2 and looking at the project’s costs, it emerged in the Guardian today.

The newspaper reported that Sir Jeremy Heywood, cabinet secretary and head of the civil service, has been reviewing HS2 to suggest ways it can stay within its £55bn budget and will report to ministers in the summer.

The paper also said that Sir Jeremy’s review had been a cause to delays to RP1, a Cabinet Office review of whether the team behind HS2 is fit to run it.

The Guardian quoted an anonymous source within HS2 as saying: “From what I understand, Sir Jeremy doesn’t give a stuff about the timetable, it’s about costs and what we can cut out to make it cheaper.”

Joe Rukin, campaign manager at Stop HS2, said: “The idea that government is looking to see what they can slice off to stop cost escalation is very disturbing to communities and environmentalists, as the very first thing to go will be the already inadequate proposed mitigations, and the only other thing they can do is reduce the already woeful access to compensation. But even if government did that, it would not stop the cost skyrocketing as this project is simply out of control.”

A recent independent report criticised HS2 for continually failing to engage with communities.

The hybrid bill giving the legal go-ahead to build HS2 has passed in the House of Commons and is now at committee stage in the House of Lords.

A government spokesperson said that the government were following “standard practice” for large projects by conducting an Infrastructure and Projects Authority review of HS2, supported by “a small cross government team.”

(Image c. PA Wire)

 

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