The UK Government is “committed” to delivering HS2 – despite the scheme being rated “unachievable” by an official watchdog.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said it will finish the high-speed rail line in “the most cost-effective way”, in response to the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) saying the project may need to be “reassessed”.
The first two phases – from London to Birmingham then onto Crewe – were given a “red” rating by the IPA.
“Successful delivery of the project appears to be unachievable,” the report’s grading system reads.
Under its red rating, it means there are “major issues with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable.”
Adding: “The project may need re-scoping and/or its overall viability reassessed.”
It comes after HS2 Ltd chief executive officer, Mark Thurston, announced he will step down at the end of September after six-and-a-half-years leading Europe’s largest infrastructure project.
HS2 has faced major delays and soaring costs.
In July, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee said HS2 Euston station must be reset yet again after initial cost estimates were found to be “completely unrealistic”.
Recent estimates for HS2 put the total cost between £70 billion and £100 billion.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Spades are already in the ground on HS2, with 350 construction sites, over £20bn invested to date and supporting over 28,500 jobs.
“We remain committed to delivering HS2 in the most cost-effective way for taxpayers.
“HS2 will bring transformational benefits for generations to come, improving connections and helping grow the economy.”
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