The UK government has issued a ‘notice to proceed’ for companies to begin work on High Speed 2 (HS2).
The decision ensures that construction will go ahead on the controversial project, and confirms that work will progress while the country grapples with the coronavirus (COVID-19) and associated lockdown measures.
The ‘notice to proceed’ is the formal approval for the construction of stage one of the project, from London to the West Midlands. This stage project is split into four work packages awarded to four separate joint ventures. Awarded in 2017, the joint ventures are:
- SCS Railways (Skanska Construction UK Ltd, Costain Ltd, STRABAG AG);
- Align JV (Bouygues Travaux Publics SAS, a subsidiary of Bouygues Construction, Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick, a subsidiary of VolkerWessels UK);
- EKBF JV (Eiffage Genie Civil SA, Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Ltd, BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman); and
- BBV JV (Balfour Beatty Group Ltd, VINCI Construction Grands Projets, VINCI Construction UK Ltd, VINCI Construction Terrassement).
HS2 Minister, Andrew Stephenson, said that the decision is an assurance to the rail industry.
“Following the decision earlier this year to proceed with the project, this next step provides thousands of construction workers and businesses across the country with certainty at a time when they need it, and means that work can truly begin on delivering this transformational project.”
HS2 Ltd, the public company overseeing HS2, estimates that 400,000 supply chain contracts will be created in phase one of HS2.
“In these difficult times, today’s announcement represents both an immediate boost to the construction industry – and the many millions of UK jobs that the industry supports – and an important investment in Britain’s future: levelling up the country, improving our transport network and changing the way we travel to help bring down carbon emissions and improve air quality for the next generation,” said Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Ltd.
The UK government has also published the full business case for the project.