HS2 given the go-ahead to enter construction phase

HS2 should be scrapped according to a free market think tank.

Companies in the UK have been given the green light by the Government to begin construction works for HS2.

Following the decision to proceed with the high speed rail project earlier this year, HS2 Ltd has today issued a ‘Notice to proceed’ to the companies that will undertake construction on the new line.

HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “While the Government’s top priority is rightly to combat the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives, we cannot delay work on our long-term plan to level up the country.

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“HS2 will be the spine of the country’s transport network, boosting capacity and connectivity while also re-balancing opportunity fairly across our towns and cities.

“Following the decision earlier this year to proceed with the project, this next step provides thousands of construction workers and businesses across the country with certainty at a time when they need it, and means that work can truly begin on delivering this transformational project.”

What is ‘Notice to proceed’?

‘Notice to proceed’ marks the formal approval for the HS2 project to begin the construction phase and HS2 Ltd is now entering Stage 2 of the main works civils contracts, with each held by a specific joint-venture.

That means the firms can transition from carrying out scheme design and preparatory work to detailed design and construction.

At a time when the construction sector faces uncertainties during the coronavirus outbreak, issuing ‘Notice to proceed’ provides a vote of confidence in construction companies and the wider supply chain supporting HS2.

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Coronavirus guidelines must be followed

Preparatory work at some HS2 sites remain paused following a review of what operations can be carried out in accordance with coronavirus guidance.

But HS2 Ltd said the four joint ventures will “start work immediately” on detailed designs, site preparation work and issuing sub-contracts.

The companies involved are applying conditions such as ensuring a minimum clearance between all personnel of two metres, having facilities for regular hand washing and single occupancy of all vehicles unless agreed in advance.

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The Department for Transport said the firms “will be able to commence work in line with Public Health England’s guidance around construction work continuing during the coronavirus outbreak”.

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About the Author

Sam Hewitt