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Examination of Witnesses

High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 11th July 2013.

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StevenHayter, Terry Morgan and Nicola Shaw continued to give evidence.

Q 241

Photo of Kris Hopkins Kris Hopkins Conservative, Keighley

Thank you, Mrs Brooke, and thank you to the panel for giving some time to come and speak to us. An initial observation would be that engineering and project management do sound exciting. I think we ought to harness this and sell it to some of our students.

Mr Morgan, earlier you mentioned the idea of ensuring that there is sufficient capacity in a budget to anticipate something that you have not even thought of yet. That sounds a bit more Mystic Meg than scientific. Is there a process? How do you come to that figure that you have built into the budget?

Terry Morgan: We have a very sophisticated risk register, as do all big programmes, to which we apply risk in value terms and probability of failure. We spend a lot of time not just accepting something as a risk, but mitigating that risk, as far as possible. We take a proportion  of those risks and allocate a probability number to that so that at the end of the day we have a register. We keep that and as a board we review it in detail every quarter. Executively, it is reviewed every month. We are continually trying to mitigate away risks that have been identified. That creates the opportunity to sit down and say, “What new risks are starting to materialise that we had not previously taken account of?” The risk register continues to change and it is important that you have an active risk register to ensure that you are on top of the risks as they start to materialise. As I said, a really important element of that, which the Olympics did very well, was to de-risk some of those items and find that the consequences of doing that are very much to the advantage of the programme.

Q 242

Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Labour, Holborn and St Pancras

My question is for Mr Hayter in particular. You referred to what is called the upgrade of the west coast main line. I take it that you agree that only £2 billion was spent on the upgrade and the other £7 billion was spent on maintenance, repairs and replacement right along the track to make up for the fact that nothing had been spent on it for about 60 years. In view of that and as 51m is only proposing major works at the Stafford bypass and Ledburn junction, do you think that it is reasonable to suggest that there would be such obstruction on the west coast main line if their proposals were carried out, particularly as Network Rail is proposing doing both major works anyway?

Steven Hayter: I cannot comment in detail on that, because I have not seen that proposal, but I would doubt that those two interventions would create the kind of capacity that we are looking at with the construction of High Speed 2. I cannot say any more than that.

Photo of Annette Brooke Annette Brooke Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party

Are there any remaining questions, having rushed us along? No. I thank our witnesses for their participation. That brings us to the end of this panel, because there are no remaining questions. I suspend the sitting for 15 minutes for the anticipated vote.

Sitting suspended for a Division in the House.