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Comment: HS2 will define the future of the UK construction industry

high speed rail

The UK’s former National Infrastructure Commission Chair Lord Adonis believes the future of the country’s construction industry hinges on the successful delivery of HS2.

Speaking at the NEC Users’ Group Annual Seminar this week, the Labour peer said the project will be the defining factor in whether future major infrastructure projects ever get off the ground post Brexit.

He also said the biggest threat to HS2 success is no longer political backing, but the industry’s own ability to collaborate efficiently and effectively.

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“HS2 is critical to the rebalancing of the country between London and the regions, especially the North,” he told the Westminster audience. “It must delivered efficiently, timely and cost effectively to be seen as a success.”

A UK government flagship project, HS2, like the Heathrow Airport expansion, has been subject to enormous political, economic and social debate.

The first phase of construction, connecting London to the West Midlands, is said to create 20,000 construction roles and approximately 20,000 apprenticeships.

Speaking last year, HS2 Ltd Managing Director of Rail Operations Chris Rayner said: “HS2 represents a once in a lifetime chance to rebalance the national economy. It will transform travel in this country, connecting eight of the 10 largest cities in the UK when completed, as well as improving capacity for customers and productivity for the economy.”

As well as commenting on HS2, Lord Adonis also pointed towards the need for the UK to upgrade its aging Victorian rail infrastructure. Electrification projects, notably around Blackpool, have led to issues with rail timetabling which has resulted in mass disruption for commuters.

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Construction Global Weekly