Protests cost HS2 up to £80m

A protester at the Kill the Bill rally in London in July 2021 holds a ‘Stop HS2’ banner (Image Dreamstime)

Protests against the construction of the HS2 high-speed rail line have added up to £80m to the cost of the project, according to estimates by HS2.

The government said it was “taking steps to ensure that illegal protestor activity is properly dealt with and that safety risks are minimised”.

The news came in an update on the project from transport minister Andrew Stephenson to Parliament. The update also confirmed that Euston’s HS2 station would be downscaled to 10 platforms rather than the 11 originally planned. Stephenson said the “more efficient” design would allow construction of the station in a single stage.

Meanwhile, the first tunnel boring machines on the project, that are digging 10-mile-long twin tunnels below the Chiltern Hills have now driven around 1.5 miles and are running ahead of schedule. Construction on the new Old Oak Common has also stated.

The report said that the first phase of HS2 remains within its £44.6bn budget, which includes a £4.3bn government-retained contingency of £4.3bn.

Phase one is expected to enter operation at some point between 2029 and 2033.

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