HS2 Plus - Sir David Higgins' Report on HS2

The report HS2 Plus, which reports on the strategy, proposals and budget of the HS2 project was published on 17th March.

The report was requested by the Prime Minister in November 2013 and written by Sir David Higgins, Chief Executive of HS2.

In summary, Sir David’s report discussed the potential of the new HS2 infrastructure to rebalance the current and growing north-south disparity and give local business the confidence to invest, creating economic activity, jobs and wealth. He highlighted the need to integrate HS2 better with existing infrastructure to improve east-west connectivity, which he believes is probably also inhibiting growth across the country. He confirmed the budget for HS2 Phase 1 as adequate, and made the point that the contingency should not be reduced until the likely level and duration of Parliamentary scrutiny was clear, as a longer time would increase uncertainty and cost.

The report made the following specific points:

  • A more comprehensive redevelopment of Euston Station was needed as the current proposal was not ambitious enough.
  • The Phase 2 route should be accelerated to reach Crewe by 2027 six years ahead of schedule, and serve a new integrated road & rail hub there. The rest of Phase 2 could be accelerated to complete three years ahead of current plans.
  • Phase 2 needed to be better integrated with Network Rail’s classic network plans, especially where east - west connectivity could be improved.
  • There should be no reduction in mitigation measures, whether noise or environmental.
  • Phase 1 budget was confirmed as adequate, with contingencies retained at current levels especially due to the uncertainty of the Parliamentary process.
  • The HS1-HS2 link represented poor value and should be reconsidered.

With the exception of the HS1-HS2 link, where its axing would eliminate any impact on the Regents Canal and Hawley Lock, it is not possible to see direct effects of this report on waterways at this stage.