High Speed Two Railway Line

Department for Transport written question – answered on 7th January 2019.

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Photo of Dame Cheryl Gillan Dame Cheryl Gillan Conservative, Chesham and Amersham

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the BBC Panorama programme of 17 November 2018, what assessment he has made of the validity of the reports on that programme of the financial situation of HS2.

Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Assistant Whip (HM Treasury)

The HS2 land and property budget has evolved as the programme has developed. The Government welcomed the National Audit Office (NAO) report in September 2018 into the HS2 Phase One property acquisition programme.

The report found that the property cost estimate had increased significantly from 2012 to 2017 and set out that this kind of change was to be expected on a large complex project such as HS2. The NAO noted that the increase included route changes as a result of public consultation, in response to the requests of petitioners during the parliamentary process leading up to Royal Assent and the introduction of additional property compensation schemes.

There is also the fact that detailed land cost assessments were not possible until after Royal Assent was achieved, and re-assessing land values from 2011 prices. The Government followed the correct process in terms of how it updated Parliament of the Phase One property costs.

As reported by the NAO, HS2 Ltd has forecasted that the cost to acquire land and property for Phase One of the route would be £3,356 million.

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