National Infrastructure Commissioner urges DFT to push-on

Sadie Morgan, the National Infrastructure Commissioner has urged the Department for Transport to give HS2 the go-ahead once the Oakervee review has been completed.

The commission said that once HS2 is free to progress it would gather considerable pace. She believes that the project has to happen, claiming that it has been under the spotlight for far too long. Therefore, the Oakervee review should put an end to that.

She claimed that it is important that we learn from our mistakes and more care has to be taken with taxpayers’ money, eventually delivering on promises.

However, she also claimed that a lot of people have been working hard to make HS2 happen and that things do not happen overnight. So, the criticism has made it difficult to remain positive.

She knows a lot of the individuals who are part of the HS2 team, acknowledging that they are talented and committed. Therefore, she hopes that once the review has been completed, they can get on with the job in hand and start to make progress at a lightning pace.

The review started in August and was chaired by the former HS2 chair Douglas Oakervee, with the report being submitted to the DFT in December. As it stands, the budget has increased to £88bn and there have been delays while independent reviews will determine what parts of the project should be completed.

At the moment, HS2 is at a critical stage of its life and there is a possibility that it could be scrapped but there is hope that this will not happen. Morgan said that the infrastructure sector needs to improve the ways in which it captures and promotes the benefits of the schemes that they propose.

She did pick up on the London Bridge Station redevelopment, claiming that the regeneration has received a positive reaction. She claimed that developments such as this can uplift communities and perhaps that is what HS2 should be doing. After all, it will add a huge amount of value and she believes that the feel-good factor can add even more value.

Deborah Lillis

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