Firms working on deals include Aecom, Arup and Mott MacDonald

The cost of design and environmental services work on the second phase of HS2 has increased by half.

In 2017 HS2 awarded three packages of works to different consortia – worth a total of £350m – to carry out design and planning work on the sections of the proposed railway that will run between the Midlands and Leeds and Manchester respectively.

A team made up of Mott MacDonald and WSP was handed a £100m contract to design the Manchester leg's spine and spur, while Arup agreed a £150m deal for the central and northern sections of the Leeds leg. Arup is also the overall environmental adviser for phase two.


Source: Alex Daniels/

A third joint venture made up of Aecom, Capita and Spanish engineering consultant Ingeniería Economía Del Transporte won a £100m deal to oversee civil and environmental design for the southern part of the Leeds leg and the East Midlands section.

Now a series of notices published on the Official Journal has revealed that the cost on all three packages has increased by £174m.

The biggest rise is on Arup’s contract, which has gone up to £269m. Mott MacDonald and WSP’s contract has increased by £20m, while the team led by Aecom will be given an extra £35m.

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HS2 said that part of the cost increase was down to the increased scope of the original contracts. A project spokesperson said that extra work now included integrating HS2 with Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) – the section of HS2 that will run between Manchester city centre and Manchester airport

He added that there had been no plans for NPR to use HS2 lines when the contracts were awarded in 2017.

The spokesperson also said that the extra costs had been included in the figure of £81-88bn, announced in September by the project’s chairman Allan Cook as the latest estimated cost of the railway.