UK transport secretary launched independent review TOR for high speed 2 project

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The Transport Secretary of UK has published the terms of reference (TOR) and timetable for an independent review into the High Speed 2 (HS2) project. Douglas Oakervee, who has built up considerable knowledge on a wide range of major projects over the course of his 60 year career, will lead the review and will work with Lord Berkeley as his deputy. They will be supported by a panel of experts, bringing together a range of perspectives from business, academia and the transport sector to ensure an independent, thorough and objective assessment of the project. Panellists will each be consulted on the report’s conclusions.

The terms of reference published confirms that the independently-led government review will look at whether and how HS2 should proceed, using all existing evidence on the project to consider:

  • its benefits and impacts
  • affordability and efficiency
  • deliverability and scope
  • its phasing, including its relationship with Northern Powerhouse Rail

A final report will be sent to the Secretary of State, with oversight from the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, by the autumn. The report will inform the government’s decisions on the next steps for the project. Limited, largely preparatory works, on the project will continue in parallel with the report’s work.

HS2 is a planned high-speed railway that will initially link the cities of London and Birmingham, followed by further extension to North West England and Yorkshire. In the second phase, the line will connect Crewe to Manchester and West Midlands to Leeds.

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