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Commissioner to probe complaints as HS2 unveils ‘good neighbour’ pledge

Commissioner to probe complaints as HS2 unveils ‘good neighbour’ pledge

🕔07.Jan 2016

An independent commissioner will investigate any complaints about construction work on the HS2 high speed rail line and make sure work is managed in a “careful and considerate manner”, the Government announced today.

Building work on the first phase between London Euston and Birmingham city centre is expected to start next year and should be completed by 2026.

The cost of the full HS2 project, including a Y-shaped extension from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester, is estimated to be £43 billion by the Department of Transport, although the Institute of Economic Affairs puts the bill at £80 billion.

HS2 Ltd, the company set up to deliver Britain’s second high speed rail line, is advertising for a commissioner to “impartially investigate any issues that arise” during construction work on the first phase of the project.

The company said it wanted to be a “good neighbour” to people living near the route.

A spokesman said:

HS2 will bring huge benefits for the country – freeing up capacity on the network, improving connections between our biggest cities, and helping to boost and re-balance the economy – but the construction phase needs to be managed in a careful and considerate manner.

This new role will ensure that any unresolved complaints are investigated and mediated fairly.

HS2 Ltd’s Managing Director, Construction, Jim Crawford said:

We want to be a good neighbour throughout the time we build this vital new rail network.

A code of construction practice will also be put in place as we look to minimise disruption to local residents and businesses. But if there are any problems we want people to be reassured that there is an independent commissioner they can look to for additional help.

The construction commissioner will:

  • Lead on the independent investigations relating to construction and subsequent investigations with fairness and impartiality.
  • Provide reassurance to the public that he is available to mediate in any disputes which have not been resolved through the normal corporate complaints process;.
  • Develop an awareness of all those affected by construction works of how to make contact with the appropriate people in the event of any difficulties.

According to the Government, HS2 will act as an engine for growth, generating thousands of jobs and helping to rebalance the economy between north and south.

Growth plans for Birmingham and the West Midlands drawn up by local enterprise partnerships are based to a large extent on economic regeneration expected to be triggered on land close to HS2 stations at Curzon Street in Digbeth and Birmingham Airport and the NEC in Solihull.

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