Cook report: HS2 considering private finance options and descoping


HS2 Ltd has been actively engaged in 'exploring' private finance options and is expected to provide findings by the end of the year.

The news came in a bombshell report by the chairman of HS2 Ltd, Allan Cook, which admitted publicly for the time what the government has known since at least the spring - that HS2 is billions of pounds over budget and years behind schedule.

Originally priced at £33bn then £56m, the government has now conceded it could be close to £90bn.

An aerial view of the planned station at Old Oak Common

The report admits that 'the scale and the complexity of the task, as well as the transformational benefits it will deliver for the country and its regions were under-estimated in the original business case'.

Mr Cook called for HS2 to be 'reset and restructured' into 'smaller, more manageable sections', albeit with intergration between phase one and phase 2a to create a London to Crewe not just Birmingham phase.

HS2 is already considering ways to reduce scope for the project, the report revealed.

The report has been heavily redacted, but only where 'commercially necessary' the Government claimed.

'HS2 will continue to explore Private Finance opportunities both pre and post construction for [redacted].This workstream has already had input and advice from IPA [Infrastructure Project Authority] and HMT [Treasury] and will conclude its findings by December 2019,' the report said.

It added that private and third party funding would be 'especially relevant on Phase 2b where the scheme is less mature and more choices exist for the sponsor and stakeholders'.

HS2 would also continue to develop opportunities for 'further cost efficiencies on Phase One, including challenges to standards and specifications'.

Another key milestone coming up is the overall procurement strategy for phase 2a and 2b due next month, following advanced discussions with DfT and the IPA.

Among the revelations was Mr Cook's claim that Northern Powerhouse Rail (NRP) - a planned east to west high speed route - 'cannot be built without HS2 lines coming into Leeds and Manchester'.

He went on to reveal that much of the design work for NPR has been led by HS2 as there is currently no dedicated delivery vehicle in place to deliver the NPR ambitions.

However the report concludes that there is 'no realistic alternative' to HS2 to relieve overcrowding and congestion on the roads and rail links between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds and more generally within and between the Midlands and the North.

A concern for the infrastructure sector as a whole follows a ‘Periodic Update’ review by the cabinet secretary later in 2016, which highlighted further potential efficiencies through benchmarking HS2 against international high-speed railway projects and suggesting potential cost-saving opportunities.

However, these efficiencies depended on innovation by the supply chain in methods of construction, off-site manufacturing, investment in technical skills and new types of plant and equipment, and European approaches to site management.

These savings 'have largely not been realised in practice, particularly on the non-tunnelled sections of the Phase One route' the report found.

There are also legislative delays facing the project as the Third Reading of the Phase 2a (West Midlands to Crewe) hybrid Bill was expected in the House of Commons before July.

Register now for full access

Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

comments powered by Disqus
highways jobs

Senior Traffic Engineer

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
£32,029 - £34,788 per annum
Currently seeking an enthusiastic and experienced individual to manage our Traffic Team. East Riding of Yorkshire
Recuriter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Ugobus Driver (multiple positions)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938 per annum
Please note that we have permanent, fixed term and relief contract opportunities on a part time, job share and flexible working basis. The salary is u England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Principal Transport & Infrastructure Planning Officer

Essex County Council
£52000 - £57570.0 per annum
Please note this is a two year fixed term contract with a potential for extension, subject to budget and workload. Job purpose Calling all transport P England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Food Safety Environmental Health Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£36,630 to £42,490
Seeking a highly motivated and experienced Environmental Health Officer to join our busy Food Safety team. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Policy Planner

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£25,327 - £36,486 depending on skills and experience
We have an exciting opportunity within the Spatial and Transport Planning service for 2 x Policy Planner roles... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Highways Inspector

Cambridgeshire County Council
£19,554 - £23,836
Looking for candidates who have experience of highways maintenance and have a sound technical understanding of highways. Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Street Services Recruitment Day

Royal Borough of Greenwich
Competitive Salary
This role involves collecting residents and business wheelie bins and waste containers you will work as... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Assistant Tree Officer

Camden London Borough Council
£25,880 - £27,904
Looking for an assistant tree officer to join a busy Tree Section working with the most up to date arboriculture equipment’s and IT resources.  Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Traffic Officer

Bedford Borough Council
£23,313 - £26,999 per annum
You will work as part of the Highways team providing specialist knowledge and advice on traffic management issues. Bedford, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Bedford Borough Council

Vehicle Technician x2

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,313 - £28,785 per annum
Seeking to recruit two Vehicle Technicians, based at our Waterfall Lane Depot in Cradley Heath. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Senior Design Engineer - Guildford

Surrey County Council
£39,438 - £43,744 per annum
An opportunity has arisen within Surrey County Council's Highway Design & Delivery Team... Guildford, Surrey
Recuriter: Surrey County Council

Environment and Low Carbon Work Package Manager

Essex County Council
£38400 - £42420 per annum
Please note that this position is to be offered on a 3-year, fixed term contract.Interviews likely to be held week commencing 30th September 2019.Esse England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Director of External Operations

Somerset West and Taunton Council
Somerset West and Taunton Council has been through a transformation that puts customers at the heart of everything we do. Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset West and Taunton Council

Zero Emissions Network Officer

Tower Hamlets London Borough Council
£33,759 - £34,986
We are looking for an enthusiastic Zero Emissions Network Officer Tower Hamlets, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Tower Hamlets London Borough Council

Contract Supervisor

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£31,013 - £36,486 depending on skills, knowledge and experience
The role of Contract Supervisor (Waste and Street Cleansing) will require you to support ambitious plans to provide services for residents Richmond upon Thames, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Flood Risk Manager

Birmingham City Council
£43,662 - £54,574
The role requires the post holder to be the lead professional for the Authority’s Flood Risk Management and drainage function Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham City Council

Head of Highways & Transport

Lewisham London Borough Council
up to £72,705
As our lead expert on highways and transport, you will set the direction and lead on all transport related matters Lewisham, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Lewisham London Borough Council

Assistant Director

Hounslow London Borough Council
Up to £82k
Working across a wide range of high profile direct services, the emphasis for this role is on partnership working. Hounslow (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hounslow London Borough Council

Director of Integrated Transport

Liverpool City Region
Salary up to £124,848
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is embarking on a search for an exceptional individual with the passion to deliver on our vision Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Region