Home Breaking Boris Johnson gives HS2 the go ahead

Boris Johnson gives HS2 the go ahead

by Mark Fitt Political Journalist
11th Feb 20 1:56 pm

On Tuesday Boris Johnson has given the £100bn flagship High Speed 2 (HS2) rail project the green light and promised a “transport revolution.”

The prime minister said that despite “poor management” by the construction firm he believes in the “fundamental value” of the HS2 plan.

He promised to “restore discipline to the programme and will appoint a full-time minister in Thursday’s Cabinet reshuffle to oversee HS2 progress.

“When it comes to advocating HS2, it must be said that the task is not made easier by HS2 Ltd, the company concerned.

“Speaking as an MP whose constituency is on the route, I cannot say that HS2 Ltd has distinguished itself in the handling of local communities.”

Johnson added, “But poor management to date has not detracted, in my view, from the fundamental value of the project.”Phase one works that runs from London Euston to Birmingham and phase two which is an extension of the track to Crewe will continue, “on something approaching time and budget.”

However, around 60 MPs in the home counties do not back the decision and are very opposed to the HS2 project.

Rob Butler MP said he is “incredibly frustrated” over the “eye watering costs” along with the “irreversible” destruction of ancient woodland in the UK.

Michael Fabricant said the prime minister’s decision is “very disappointing” and will cause “immense” damage to the countryside.Jeremy Corbyn told the House of Commons, “HS2 must be developed with more sensitivity to local communities and the environment, particularly regarding the impact it will have on woodlands.

“And if it is to have public support the fares on HS2 must be affordable. Can the prime minister tell us where the trains will be built? Will those jobs and training be in this country?

“What about other parts of the country, like the far South West for example? When will the prime minister match the £2.5bn commitment to upgrade the Great Western Mainline on our only train line into the South West?

“We believe the case is now unanswerable that our railways should be publicly owned and run to improve the service and cut fares by 33%.”

The Labour leader accused the prime minister of “failing to keep a lid on the costs.”

He said: “This is a government that is unwilling to make the scale of investment needed to revive the parts of our country that have been decimated by successive Conservative governments.

“And it’s a government that has proved unable to manage infrastructure projects properly and incapable to keep a lid on costs.”The national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Mike Cherry said, now it’s time to put some high speed into its construction

“It is very welcome that at long last a clear decision has been made to proceed with HS2. The time for debate is over – let’s get the shovels out and put some high speed into the process of building it.

“This is a crucial infrastructure project which will bring economic benefits both during its construction, and in the capacity and productivity improvements it will create once it’s operational. It will allow for a greater number of both passenger and freight services, take lorries off congested roads, and help to improve connectivity across the Midlands and north of England.

“It is important that as tenders are drawn up for construction contracts that as many as possible are broken down to make them manageable for small businesses to bid for. This will increase competition, drive down costs, and protect taxpayers from the risk of putting too many eggs in one or two multi-national baskets.”

On the announcement of other investment in transport infrastructure, Michael Lassman, London Regional Chair added, “It is pleasing to see a focus on bus transport as well as rail. In many parts of the country buses are the only form of public transport, and investment will lead to more frequent and reliable services, making it easier for people to visit town centres and high streets.

“However, we are disappointed with the lack of a clear steer on the direction of travel of the Crossrail 2 project that is critical for growth and jobs in the capital.”

He said: “This is a government that is unwilling to make the scale of investment needed to revive the parts of our country that have been decimated by successive Conservative governments.

“And it’s a government that has proved unable to manage infrastructure projects properly and incapable to keep a lid on costs.”Association for Project Management (APM) said, “We support the need for a credible long-term programme of major projects of all types and recognise that stability arises from clear goals and plans to achieve them, a firm funding commitment, and a genuine commitment to these projects with the broadest stakeholder support possible.

“As the Chartered body for the project profession it is our mission to support the better delivery of projects whatever their size.

“While we recognise that many major projects can be controversial, it is important to ensure that there is consensus around a programme of sustained, long-term major projects accompanied by adequate investment to ensure that economic and societal benefits are fully realised.”

Debbie Dore, chief executive of APM said, “Although we recognise there is a diversity of views about HS2, we welcome the independent report as part of a robust and credible process of external assurance – a good principle of project management for major projects involving public money. All major projects will have challenges across their lifespan and HS2 is a significant long-term project. Ultimately, projects like this need to be measured on the economic and social benefits they produce.”

Leave a Commment

You may also like

CLOSE AD

Sign up to our daily news alerts

[ms-form id=1]