The HS2 high-speed train is set to connect London with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds in unprecedented ways. It is also calculated to be the most expensive railway development project in the world.
According to a leaked Infrastructure and Projects Authority report, the HS2 project was started with the initial budget of £55.7bn. However, according to this most recent report, the scheme is now set to exceed the budget by as much as 60 per cent. So far, the overall figure is now looking like it will cost more than £80bn.
In the report, it is speculated the project is “fundamentally flawed” due to the lack of cohesion and common vision amongst the pioneers of the HS2. However, the HS2 managers hit back at these claims, stating that they “did not recognise or agree with the analysis or the figures it contains”.
This devastating report may not have been made public if it weren’t leaked. Many are seeing this as the Government contributing to misleading information, hiding the report on HS2’s performance and budget overruns. According to a Government “traffic light assessment” the HS2 has even received an amber/red rating each year (for the past six years). Meaning that there is a high risk of it not delivering on value for money. Because of this information, many are questioning the legitimacy of the project, given that it may not be as economically beneficial as initially proposed.
Concern from Property Owners
HS2 Ltd has now bought over 20 per cent of the properties along the first phase of the route. The project has seen HS2 engage in the UK’s largest set of land and property purchases since the Second World War. Unsurprisingly, there are a number of residents who vehemently refused to give up their home, despite the controversial compulsory purchase powers. The HS2 was met with 2,588 objections both from people and organisations before the project began.
Unfortunately, out of those entitled, many people are yet to receive compensation. People have also complained about low property valuations after their homes were requisitioned by HS2 because of their location on the railway route.
What Does the Future Hold?
If the predictions are correct, the HS2 will end up costing around £90bn by the time it is finished. The managers, however, do insist that they are keeping a tight grip on the timescale and budget. It’s now anticipated that Phase 1 and 2a will be completed by 2031. This will be five years beyond the initially scheduled opening date of 2026.
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