HS2 rail 'dither and delay' criticised by Lord Adonis
Published: 4th Jun 2012 11:42:58
The HS2 rail scheme might not be ready before 2030 because of "dither and delay" by ministers, former Transport Secretary Lord Adonis has said.
The Labour peer said he feared the legislation needed for the project may not be passed within this parliament.
Phase one of the £33bn high-speed rail link, between London and Birmingham, is due to start operating in 2026.
The government said it was keeping to its published timetable for completing the necessary legislation.
Transport minister Theresa Villiers said suggestions that the coalition was slowing down on HS2 were "just not true".
Lord Adonis, who got the HS2 project under way while in government, said he was concerned about the pace of the scheme.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It took the last government 14 months to set in train the whole plan for HS2 from London to Birmingham and we started the work on the route north to Manchester to Leeds.
"This government has been in office for two years and three months and very little of substance has happened since the election.
"They've carried out one consultation but we still don't have the legislation to get the line up to Birmingham, they're delaying consultation on the compensation scheme and they still haven't published the routes north of Birmingham.
"The current transport secretary announced that she wasn't even going to publish that route until the autumn.
"So it'll be nearly four years after the last election until they produce the bill needed for HS2 and I think there's now a very good chance that legislation won't pass in this parliament. It could well get caught up in all the politics leading up to the next election and we may not see HS2 now in the 2020s."
He added: "If infrastructure projects are going to happen they need somebody who's going to drive them forward, and that simply isn't present at the moment in this government.
"We're already on the second transport secretary since the election, the transport department has had three permanent secretaries in the last two years.
"There's been endless dither and delay, no one is gripping this, no one is driving it forward. There should have been a bill for HS2 in the Queen's Speech when instead we're apparently going to be spending month after month debating House of Lords reform."
HS2 was given the go-ahead by Transport Secretary Justine Greening in January. Phase two of the high-speed link is proposed to extend the line further north to Manchester and Leeds by about 2033.
The start of a public consultation on plans to compensate people whose homes are blighted by HS2 has been delayed.
The HS2 rail route from above
Last month an inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for High Speed Rail said alternatives to HS2 would not solve capacity problems on the railways.
Ms Villiers said: "The suggestion that we are dragging our heels on HS2 is just not true. We are keeping to our published timetable of completing the necessary legislation for phase one by the end of this parliament.
"This is a major project which will have a significant impact on the future of the country and it is imperative that we get it right.
"We will ensure it is delivered as swiftly as possible but we will not be rushed - all relevant evidence needs to be properly considered, including the views of communities potentially affected by the line, and we will be doing this within the timeframe we set out soon after the coalition entered government."
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. HS2 rail 'dither and delay' criticised by Lord Adonis [Online] (Updated 4th Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1432636/HS2-rail-dither-and-delay-criticised-by-Lord-Adonis [Accessed 8th Mar 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
A poem about the killing of PC Keith Blakelock during riots in north London was written by the man accused of his murder, a court has heard.