Since the Oakervee review into the viability of HS2 was leaked before Christmas, there has been much ‘will he, won’t he’ speculation about whether or not Boris Johnson will give the project the green light.
Well, the waiting appears to be over as news emerges that both Phase 1 (to Birmingham) and Phase 2a (to Crewe) will go ahead in spite of its many critics (which include many MPs on the Conservative back benches as well as Boris Johnson’s influential chief adviser, Dominic Cummings).
However, in the face of the line’s spiralling cost, Phase 2b (Crewe to Manchester / Leeds) is likely to be further reviewed and possibly de-scoped and, in a further effort to reduce costs, Phase 1 will (at least initially) start at Old Oak Common rather than Euston. The likely cost of the project, forecast to exceed £106 billion (excluding rolling stock), bears no relation to its initial price tag of c. £52bn. Furthermore, it is subject to further delays of between 5-7 years. Phase 1 is not expected to be completed until 2031 at the earliest.
For those people and businesses along the Phase 1 route, the decision will at least bring a much needed, if unwelcome, conclusion to what has been an intensely frustrating period. We are advising many of those affected on the compensation they are due, and we are hopeful that this morning’s news will encourage HS2 to resolve all the outstanding compensation claims quickly and fairly. If you need advice on how to claim compensation from HS2, or progress an ongoing claim, please contact our HS2 Advisory Team, which has 10 years of experience and an established reputation for dealing with HS2 claims
Sarah Beer is an associate in the farming and estates team. She has considerable experience advising on matters related to HS2.