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MPA says HS2 uncertainty ‘beggars belief’

HS2 project

Mineral Products Association concerned over decision to order independent review into the project

THE Mineral Products Association (MPA) has expressed consternation at the review of the High Speed 2 (HS2) project announced yesterday (21 August).

The Association’s chief executive officer, Nigel Jackson, said: ‘Our members have invested in detailed planning and improved capacity to supply the tens of millions of tonnes of materials required for this major public infrastructure project. We are most concerned to see yet more delay and uncertainty over HS2. The Government should decide promptly, commit firmly and deliver the project on time.

‘From a Government ostensibly committed to being more ‘can do’ and keen to invest in improving Britain’s infrastructure, this further delay beggars belief. Now is the time to accelerate investment in infrastructure, not to add to uncertainty.’

Yesterday, the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, published the terms of reference and timetable for an independent review into the HS2 project.

Douglas Oakervee, who has built up considerable knowledge on a wide range of major projects over the course of his 60-year career, will lead the review and will work with Lord Berkeley as his deputy. They will be supported by a panel of experts, bringing together a range of perspectives from business, academia and the transport sector.

Under the terms of reference, the government review will look at whether and how HS2 should proceed, using all existing evidence on the project to consider: its benefits and impacts; affordability and efficiency; deliverability and scope; and its phasing, including its relationship with Northern Powerhouse Rail.

A final report will be sent to the Secretary of State, with oversight from the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, by the autumn. The report will inform the Government’s decisions on the next steps for the project. Limited, largely preparatory works, on the project will continue in parallel with the report’s work.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘The Prime Minister has been clear that transport infrastructure has the potential to drive economic growth, redistribute opportunity and support towns and cities across the UK, but that investments must be subject to continuous assessment of their costs and benefits.

‘That’s why we are undertaking this independent and rigorous review of HS2. Douglas Oakervee and his expert panel will consider all the evidence available and provide the department with clear advice on the future of the project.’

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Submitted by Jeremy Murfitt (not verified) on

On the one hand I agree it is frustrating but these major infrastructure projects not only have to be on time but also on budget. All too often major projects are delivered late and at far greater cost, Crossrail being a good example. Saying is it going to cost £55Bn but then to say that figure is unrealistic surely isn't good enough? Figures closer to £100Bn are now being quoted. The "Government", the construction sector and all involved really need to up their game and start delivering projects on time and on budget. Our Government aren't exactly good at procurement, just look at the armed forces spend. I don't know the answers but something is very amiss when the "quote" and delivered cost are nearly 100% out. Final point - how come in France and Germany high speed railway lines are costing a lot less per mile?

Submitted by Cllr Peter N Ro... (not verified) on

I feel HS2 should be scraped and the money used to build a high speed road net work that would benefit 100,000 rather than a 1000 daily

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