UK rental industry responds to HS2 delay

By Murray Pollok10 March 2023

The UK’s construction Plant Hire Association (CPA) said delays to completion of the HS2 high-speed rail project were “disappointing and frustrating”.

The UK government said yesterday that the Birmingham to Crewe section of the project will be delayed by two years to reduce costs, while there is also the possibility that the opening of the connecting station at Euston in London could be delayed.

Construction starts on the Colne Valley Viaduct, with the launch of the giant bridge-building machine Dominique. Photo: HS2

The project is now expected to cost £71 billion, up from the £10 billion estimated in 2010. It has been hit by rising costs in materials.

CPA’s Policy Manager, Chris Cassley, said: “It’s disappointing and frustrating that, just weeks after the Chancellor reassured the construction industry that there would be no delay, the government has announced the construction of sections of HS2 will be delayed to save money.

“This undermines confidence in the wider project itself, and at a time when we need construction as a long-term driver of sustainable growth, raises questions towards the government’s commitment to future infrastructure projects.”

The CPA has over 1,800 members, representing around 85% of hired plant to the UK’s construction industry.

HS2 is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Europe. Major engineering works are underway on more than 350 active sites between the West Midlands and London and contracts valued at £23 billion have been issued. The first phase of the project was to see 170 miles of high-sped rail built between Crewe and London.

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