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Govt Confirms HS2 Construction Commissioner
The government has announced who will take charge of any disputes concerning the construction of HS2 when work on the super-fast railway line begins.
Earlier this week (July 24th), the Department for Transport revealed the new HS2 Construction Commissioner will be Sir Mark Worthington.
His predominant role will be to look at matters that have not been resolved through the High Speed Two (HS2) Limited complaints process. By being independent, he can investigate these without bias and make impartial decisions about their outcomes.
He will aim to network with tradesmen across the industry, local authorities, contractors, community units and HS2 Ltd to ensure communication between the different groups remains open.
By having good relationships with all of these sectors, they will all know where to go should they have an unresolved complaint with HS2 Ltd.
Sir Mark will also provide reports about trends regarding grievances, and come up with ways to eliminate these patterns and reduce the incidences of complaints entirely.
“As we deliver HS2, the new high-speed railway our country needs for growth, regeneration and better journeys, it is vital that we do so with respect and fairness to those impacted by construction,” he stated.
The politician added: “I’m looking forward to taking up this post and working hard to ensure residents and businesses along the route know they can seek fair and independent resolution of complaints if necessary.”
Some scaffolders in York who might find themselves working on the colossal project may recognise Sir Mark, as he used to be Baroness Margaret Thatcher’s trusted aide.
He worked as the former Prime Minister’s private secretary from 1992 to 2013, and was the Director of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation.
His work in politics earned him an OBE in 2005, and he received his knighthood in 2014.
HS2 will have lots of implications for the entire country, not just for the construction sector. Indeed, it will boost the industry significantly, aiming to create around 25,000 jobs for construction workers, engineers and tradesmen once work begins. Phase One – linking Birmingham to London – is expected to be open to passengers by 2026.
The 345 miles of track will also connect London with Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Leeds, enabling the country’s biggest cities to be easily connected to each other, and giving fast access to the capital from the north.
It is thought it will connect 30 million people across the 25 stations it will serve, which will also allow Brits to live and work in separate cities as commuting times will be significantly reduced.
For instance, while it currently takes two hours and eight minutes on average for a train from Manchester to reach central London, this will be cut to one hour and eight minutes, nearly halving the journey.
In addition to this, the government believes the HS2 will be a “catalyst for economic growth across Britain”.
As well as improving links between Britain’s largest cities, it will open up the country allowing different areas to take advantage of varying skills, markets and opportunities.
It is also thought that having a HS2 station will attract investment to the local area, and more houses, offices and hotels have already started to be built in the main cities as a result of the high-speed railway line.