HS2 is on target to achieve Royal Assent by December 2016, which the National Audit Office (NAO) describes as a “significant achievement” for one of the biggest bills ever considered by Parliament.
But the NAO also says that the Department for Transport set a schedule for achieving delivery process that was too ambitious, with the first review point, which tests HS2 Ltd’s readiness to deliver, delayed by ten months. By May 2016 HS2 Ltd had the capability it had originally planned to reach by July 2015, but did not pass the first review point due to concerns about cost and schedule.
NAO Comptroller and Auditor General Amyas Morse said: “HS2 is a large, complex and ambitious programme which is facing cost and time pressures. The unrealistic timetable set for HS2 Ltd by the Department means they are not as ready to deliver as they hoped to be at this point. The Department now needs to get the project working to a timescale that is achievable.”
- For more on this, read RAIL 804, published on July 6.