HS2 ‘Notice to proceed’ issued on 15th April 2020
Given the understandable news focus elsewhere in the last few weeks, it would be easy to miss the announcement by the government on the 15th April, that they have issued a ‘Notice to proceed’ for Phase 1 of HS2, linking London to Birmingham. This means that contractors have formal approval for the main construction works to begin, following the decision in February to proceed with the project. Phase 1 currently encompasses the line from London to Birmingham and Lichfield, though there are ongoing discussions around incorporating Phase 2a (Birmingham to Crewe) into this timetable.
Whilst much of the preparatory work has been underway since 2017, notably in Birmingham, the main companies involved in the project expect contractors to be on site later this year or early next year to start delivering the project. This is unrelated to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions - the notice to proceed means that contracts with strategic delivery partners can be signed and uncertainty removed from the project rather than leading to the immediate breaking of ground.
Phase 1 of HS2 was originally scheduled to open in 2026, but this timetable has been revised to a window of 2028-2031. Phase 2b (the full line to Manchester and Leeds) now may be delayed until 2040.
Among the work already undertaken for Phase 1 includes visual and noise assessments for all areas along the route corridor, in addition to property purchase and compensation schemes and safeguarding areas. Details of these assessments can all be found in Groundsure’s reports. With the progress of Phase 1 now a certainty, Groundsure continues to monitor the progress of HS2 and provide purchasers with the most detailed information available on the project throughout its construction.