HS2 Update 1 Jul 2016


We have received the following update from the Buckinghamshire County Council HS2 team:

(Note: previous Updates can be found on the Campaigns part of this web site at https://www.amershamsociety.org/topics/hs2/).

This E-update looks at the recently published National Audit Office and forthcoming Public Accounts Committee session.


Tunnel evidence


Tim Smart, HS2 Ltd’s Head of Engineering and Operations, gave a presentation to the House of Lords HS2 Select Committee on 27 June, on tunnelling, which is available at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/lords-committees/High-Speed-Rail/Promoter%27s-Tunnel-Presentation.pdf. On 30 June, Martin Kingston QC, acting for Buckinghamshire authorities, made a procedural plea to the House of Lords HS2 Select Committee to allow the Chilterns extended tunnel evidence be heard and an Additional Provision to be allowed. You can see view the transcript at http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/high-speed-rail-london-west-midlands-bill-lords-committee/high-speed-rail-london-west-midlands-bill/oral/34714.html


The latest HS2 House of Lords Committee programme up to 20 July can be viewed at http://www.parliament.uk/documents/lords-committees/High-Speed-Rail/HSRBC-Programme-4-20-July.pdf.


National Audit Office (NAO) Report


The NAO published their latest report on progress with preparations for HS2. The full report is available at http://stophs2.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/NAO280616.pdf. Head of the NAO, Amyas Morse, said “HS2 is a large, complex and ambitious programme which is facing cost and time pressures”. The NAO also added that phase one of HS2 was currently expected to cost £27.4 billion, which exceeds available funding by £204m. The estimated cost of phase two, which will link the West Midlands with Leeds and Manchester, is also over budget, according to the NAO.


Public Accounts Committee session on HS2 on 11 July 2016


Scope of the inquiry


The programme for High Speed 2 (HS2) is facing cost and schedule pressures with options for extending the opening date for phase 1 now being considered and steps are being taken to bring cost estimates within available funding, as reported by the National Audit Office above.
The 2026 target opening date for phase 1 is at risk despite good progress with some major procurements. The Department for Transport (the Department) has asked HS2 Ltd to revisit the programme schedule in order to increase confidence for delivery from 60 % to 80%, without increasing costs. It has also asked HS2 Ltd to assess the impact of extending the timetable for opening Phase 1 by up to 12 months. Since the NAO reported in 2013, the Department and HS2 Ltd have made significant progress in preparing to deliver the programme. They have issued tender documents for major civil engineering contracts on phase 1, and plan to announce the preferred route for phase 2b later in 2016.


In 2013, the Public Accounts Committee raised concerns about the ambitious timetable for High Speed 2, and the NAO report states that the Department set HS2 Ltd a schedule for achieving delivery readiness that was also too ambitious. The Department and HS2 Ltd delayed the first of three formal review points—which tested HS2 Ltd’s readiness to deliver—by ten months because HS2 Ltd would not reach the required level of capability in time. By May 2016, HS2 Ltd had the capability it had planned to reach in July 2015, but did not pass review point 1 owing to concerns about cost and schedule. It is important that HS2 Ltd builds and embeds the organisational capability, and produces fully assured plans to enable it to complete work on schedule, and to gain the delegated authority to deliver the programme efficiently.


If you wish to submit evidence to this inquiry, please do so using the link below. The deadline for written submissions is midday on Tuesday 5 July 2016. Further details are at http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/high-speed-2-16-17/.


HS2 Alerts


If you would like to be kept up to date will all the latest information on HS2 matters please contact Andrea Polden andreapolden@icloud.com who will add you to her mailing list. Andrea is a volunteer who shares daily information on HS2 matters.


Buckinghamshire County Council HS2 team:


Jackie Copcutt jcopcutt@buckscc.gov.uk Tel: 01296 383793

Darl Sweetland dsweetland@buckscc.gov.uk Tel: 01296 383463

HS2 Blueprint Mailbox HS2Blueprint@buckscc.gov.uk

BCC HS2 Webpages: http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/environment/hs2/