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DfT to amend Integrated Rail Plan as costs become clearer

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DfT to amend Integrated Rail Plan as costs become clearer

The Department for Transport (DfT) plans to implement the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) in a “adaptive” manner, with projects “evolving” as costs and future demands become clearer.

The Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed the new method, which some had feared would see the cost of HS2 eat into cash that had been set aside for other projects such as the Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Connect plans, which are worth a combined £22.6 billion. A further £1.5 billion has been set aside for minor rail projects in the North and Midlands.

According to Construction News, the Department for Transport anticipates the £96 billion plan’s projects to “change in light of future demand and cost.”

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The Department for Transport (DfT) stated it was making progress on the activities detailed in the IRP and that the HS2 Western Leg Bill had been deposited in parliament, with construction on electrifying the Midland Mainline beginning in December 2021. It will also shortly finalise arrangements for the study to look at the optimum approach to take HS2 trains to Leeds, including capacity at Leeds Station.

The likelihood of budget changes in the future comes as concerns about funding for other projects have been raised at a regional level.

HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston convinced parliament’s Public Accounts Committee earlier this month that the project will stay within its budgetary constraints, amid concerns from MPs that inflation might devastate the budget. Steel prices alone had jumped by £350 per tonne to £800 in recent weeks, according to the HS2 boss.

However, the cost of some significant aspects of the project is still unknown, with the total cost of Euston considered to be merely a rough estimate, with a P value (a measure of cost certainty that is part of the Infrastructure Projects Authority methodology) of only 30% maturity.

Thurston told MPs that the cost of the Euston station would become evident in about a year.

When questioned if the current budget included the cost of completing Euston by MP for The Cotswolds Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the HS2 head stated the company had “still to agree” on a cost certainty for the terminus.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, called on the government to devolve power to regional organisations so that they can take management of their own stations and raise funding to pay for renovations last week.

“You’ve got modern buildings where thousands of people are working in a really nice setting and stations that are just nowhere near the same level,” Burnham told CN sister publication Local Government Chronicle. It’s a situation that just cannot be allowed to continue.”

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