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What Does The HS2 Delay Mean?
What Does The HS2 Delay Mean?
It recently emerged that a key piece of legislation required to ensure that the next phase of HS2 goes ahead won’t be submitted to parliament next year as planned. Instead it has been delayed by a year and will instead go forward in 2020.
However, the delay has led to concern from some quarters, but is it a bad thing for this stage in the project to be pushed back by 12 months?
The piece of legislation that’s being delayed is what’s needed to extend HS2 from Manchester to Leeds.
Leader of Leeds City Council and member of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Judith Blake told the Yorkshire Post that any delays to HS2 in the north were “concerning”.
“It is essential that this does not have a knock-on impact on the timetable for construction or the opening of the Eastern leg,” she told the newspaper.
Lilian Greenwood, chairwoman of the Transport Select Committee, described it as “a poor start” to the new parliamentary year. She told the Nottingham Post that it “raises further doubts over the government’s commitment and willingness to invest in the Midlands and the North”.
Ms Greenwood also stressed the importance of HS2 Phase 2b in terms of boosting the economies in the north of the country.
“Without HS2 Phase 2b, the potential transformation to connectivity across the Midlands and to the great cities of the North and Scotland will be lost,” she stated.
However, Construction News reported on comments made by a Department for Transport spokeswoman, who explained that the reason for the delay to this crucial HS2 legislation was to allow it to link properly with the Northern Powerhouse Rail project.
She added that there isn’t expected to be a change to the completion date of 2033 for HS2 Phase 2b as a result of the delay to the legislation being submitted.
“In order to maximise the huge potential of HS2, it is important to make sure it takes full account of the emerging vision for the other transformative project of Northern Powerhouse Rail,” she said.
A spokesperson for Transport for the North told Chronicle Live that it’s in everyone’s interests to ensure that these two rail projects not only connect properly, but that they are both delivered on schedule.
Ensuring that both schemes are developed effectively is “at the heart of our approach to providing the north with the rail connectivity we need to grow our economy”, they asserted.
With so many works planned for railways around the Midlands and north of the UK in the coming years, there’s likely to be greater need for scaffolding contractors in Leeds, Sheffield, York and other key cities that are set to be connected by the new HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail projects.
All of this comes amid the announcement that Paul Griffiths, managing director for Phase 2 of the HS2 project, is leaving his post to take up a job in Canada. Commenting on his departure, CEO at HS2 Ltd Mark Thurston said that Mr Griffiths had done a lot to advance the project.
He also said that Phase 2b is “well advanced in terms of its preparation for parliament, particularly how it integrates with the existing network and the plans of Northern Powerhouse Rail”.