We all heard and saw that the new HS2 high-speed rail line Eastern leg will now be scrapped abandoning plans for a high speed railways lines connecting northern regions with each other and London.  The scrapping of the eastern leg has caused strong criticism from The Northern Powerhouse Partnership, this a group of northern local authorities and business leaders, they believe the impact of scrapping the eastern leg will reduce the benefits of the section being built now between Birmingham and London. 

 
Why has the HS2 been so controversial 
 
Rising Costs 
 
HS2 was originally priced at £32.7bn, in 2013 - this priced was changed and an additional £10bn was added by the Department of Transport to the total budget moving the budget amount to £42.7bn. 
 
However, these costs were set in 2013 and the price of all aspects of the project have risen over time. A government-commissioned review in 2019 estimated the final outlay for the HS2 could reach £135bn, nearly three times the original budget. 
 
The cost rises haven’t stopped there it is estimated that a further £1.7bn have been added to the cost due to the impact of the pandemic. 
 
The continuing cost increases of the HS2 construction project and as time progresses the unknown external environmental factors surrounding the project, creates overwhelming questions around the validity around the high speed rail development. 
 
Requirements of the HS2 
 
Is the HS2 still relevant in todays working world? 
 
The government and HS2 supporters have been extremely vocal about the benefits that the infrastructure of the HS2 project with bring to England. However in the last year the pandemic has changed the way people work and commute. The proportion of working adults who did any work from home in 2020 increased to 37% on average. The effectiveness of carrying out meetings via platforms such as teams and zoom has questioned the need for businesses to travel for face-to-face meetings. 
 
These changing patterns of working society were obviously not a consideration in 2013 when the HS2 project was first considered, but as move into new ways of working and development is the HS2 project still as essential for the country’s economic development as once stated. 
 
Mixed Reactions 
 
There are so many opinions around the HS2 project from the environment and woodland that will be destroyed, the increased economic gain to the north v’s the south and whether one railway can actually fix the decades of under-investment on Britain’s railways. 
 
Whether for or against the HS2 project it is clear that this mammoth construction project has a long journey ahead. Working on huge infrastructure projects at AMB Technical, we can see that time, external factors, project management, the enormity of the project will continue to drive much debate and thought around the construction of the HS2 project. 
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