Funding model to kickstart mothballed Euston site should be agreed quickly, body adds

The next government should retain its HS2 landholdings until a comprehensive long-term strategy for rail has been developed, according to the High Speed Rail Group (HSRG). 

In a report prepared ahead of the next general election, expected this year, the HSRG said a “costly” fire sale of assets acquired for the scrapped second phase of the UK’s biggest infrastructure project should be avoided. 

It recommended that the next government’s long-term strategy should prioritise the link from Birmingham to the North West, which would have been covered by HS2 Phase 2b, and the route across the North of England from Liverpool to Hull, which the current government claims to be developing under the moniker of Northern Powerhouse Rail. 


Source: HS2 Ltd

The next government should not sanction a fire sale of land earmarked for HS2, the HSRG said

>> Read more: Everything must go: The HS2 land fire sale and what it means for the future of rail 

>> Read more: Election focus 2024: policy tracker 

Dyan Perry, chair of the High Speed Rail Group, said: “If the UK is to achieve its growth and net zero aims, we urgently need to develop a comprehensive strategy for high speed rail travel, whilst thinking creatively to unlock the maximum investment possible. The next government must take smart, long-term decisions to maximise wider benefits and reach regions calling out for investment.”

HSRG also suggested the next government should develop a funding model which allows the Euston station works to be completed, gives immediate go-ahead to the section of HS2 from Old Oak Common to Euston, and in particular avoids any costly delays to the tunnelling work.

An announcement on when tunnelling work from Old Oak Common station to the mothballed Euston station will start is expected to be made in the next few weeks, once today’s London mayoral election is out of the way. Work on this part of the route is expected to start next year.

Election focus  

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As thoughts turn towards the next general election, the UK is facing some serious problems.

Low growth, flatlining productivity, question marks over net zero funding and capability, skills shortages and a worsening housing crisis all amount to a daunting in-tray for the next government.

This year’s general election therefore has very high stakes for the built environment and the economy as a whole.

For this reason, Building has launched its most in-depth election coverage yet, helping the industry to understand the issues in play and helping to amplify construction’s voice so that the government hears it loud and clear.