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Author Topic: HS2 - Government proposals, alternative routes and general discussion  (Read 212812 times)
Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #930 on: March 16, 2020, 11:31:51 am »

Here's an argument that the BCR has been fiddled in order to meet government targets, but in fact it's not a particularly relevant metric to HS2.

BCR was introduced to bring objectivity into major projects, but those days are long behind us. The common method now seems to be to write down on a piece of paper the BCR figure you want to achieve. Put this on a spreadsheet, then work backwards through all the elements that make it up, to make sure that they are adjusted to achieve the number that you wrote on the piece of paper.
Yeah, the link I gave was arguing that this was more or less what had been done, but that using BCR in any form was missing the point since it doesn't measure "geographical rebalancing".
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« Reply #931 on: March 16, 2020, 04:07:11 pm »

Yeah, the link I gave was arguing that this was more or less what had been done, but that using BCR in any form was missing the point since it doesn't measure "geographical rebalancing".

I suppose that somebody will come up with a formula for rebalancing.  You could have a multiplier, based on the distance from London and three other cities (in kilometres, obviously), divided by the time taken in minutes against the the time using the new road/railway/canal or whatever, that result being itself subject to multiplication by a constant, scientifically determined by counting ethnic minorities, disabled people and newts. There would be a slight reduction to allow for the cheaper beer outside London, and it might look more convincing if it were a root mean square calculation.

So long as it comes to about 1.1 in Bristol, and about 1.3 in Stockton on Tees, it will do fine. You can always just ignore it.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #932 on: March 16, 2020, 06:38:11 pm »

Senior Civil Servant accused of withholding information about HS2


Better than having to blame a minister, I suppose. Although Chris Grayling is available - if the civil servant told him and he told her to keep schtum, things will get very interesting. This will be seized on by the Telegraph's loyal band of anti-HS2 campaigners as another reason to scrap it, but it is irrelevant now that the real "true" costs are known.

City AM originally broke it, not the Telegraph.

https://www.cityam.com/hs2-top-civil-servant-admits-to-withholding-information-on-cost-blow-out/

I'd be interested in any evidence you may have that she acted in the way you suggest - and if she did, then she's withheld that information from the Public Accounts Committee.

Given the evidence, and being objective she's been disingenuous and was caught out.
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TonyK
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« Reply #933 on: March 16, 2020, 07:24:35 pm »

Hm. You could also read into the remarks that the budget remained as per the original, with commercially sensitive negotiations continuing behind closed doors to try to keep it that way, which would not be out of order. Time will tell, but I still think it would be interesting to know what Ms Kelly was told to say by her minister, and that there may well be more to this than meets the eye. Or ear, in the case of the radio.
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« Reply #934 on: March 21, 2020, 12:15:57 pm »

Slab track does sound like it would involve rather alot of concrete; how does the carbon footprint of that compare to ballasted track I wonder.

That's an interesting question. The production of cement is very energy intensive, and  over the whole planet, the making of concrete produces three times the CO2 of the aviation industry. Whether than gives overall environmental benefits when compared to other materials, I dio not know, but I would guess that concrete slab will require a lot more energy to lay than would ballast. You can take away from that the concrete used in sleepers on normal track, the energy cost of extracting and sizing the ballast, and probably a fair bit more.
Exactly, this is why I asked the question. Lots of concrete means lots of CO2 emissions but constructing ballasted track is not zero-emission either so I'm not sure if one is substantially worse than the other. If slab track is the reason HS2 is NOT expected to contribute to reduced greehouse gas emissions, I might suggest that the environmental groups campaign to change this rather than to scrap HS2 altogether.

Here's an argument that the BCR has been fiddled in order to meet government targets, but in fact it's not a particularly relevant metric to HS2.

BCR was introduced to bring objectivity into major projects, but those days are long behind us. The common method now seems to be to write down on a piece of paper the BCR figure you want to achieve. Put this on a spreadsheet, then work backwards through all the elements that make it up, to make sure that they are adjusted to achieve the number that you wrote on the piece of paper.
I'm not sure about that, I've recently written many thousands of words objecting to proposed widening (with a bypass) of part of the A40 between Carmarthen and Haverfordwest. The BCR for that project is 0.13; I don't think they were aiming for that one! However the way of working out the BCR is completely skewed if you ask me; as part of their case the Welsh Government argued that, with no modification to the scheme at all, a slight change to the current suituation (if the bypassed village had a 30mph speeed limit rather than 40mph) would substantially 'improve' the BCR (although it would still be less than 1) due to larger time savings for motorists compared to the do-nothing scenario. The idea that saving motorists time is a benefit to society when we are supposed to be encouraging modal shift to public transport stinks in my view.
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TonyK
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« Reply #935 on: March 21, 2020, 01:08:34 pm »

The BCR for that project is 0.13

Like I said, you can always ignore it.
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Celestial
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« Reply #936 on: March 21, 2020, 02:09:48 pm »

Slab track does sound like it would involve rather alot of concrete; how does the carbon footprint of that compare to ballasted track I wonder.

That's an interesting question. The production of cement is very energy intensive, and  over the whole planet, the making of concrete produces three times the CO2 of the aviation industry. Whether than gives overall environmental benefits when compared to other materials, I dio not know, but I would guess that concrete slab will require a lot more energy to lay than would ballast. You can take away from that the concrete used in sleepers on normal track, the energy cost of extracting and sizing the ballast, and probably a fair bit more.
Exactly, this is why I asked the question. Lots of concrete means lots of CO2 emissions but constructing ballasted track is not zero-emission either so I'm not sure if one is substantially worse than the other. If slab track is the reason HS2 is NOT expected to contribute to reduced greehouse gas emissions, I might suggest that the environmental groups campaign to change this rather than to scrap HS2 altogether.

Here's an argument that the BCR has been fiddled in order to meet government targets, but in fact it's not a particularly relevant metric to HS2.

BCR was introduced to bring objectivity into major projects, but those days are long behind us. The common method now seems to be to write down on a piece of paper the BCR figure you want to achieve. Put this on a spreadsheet, then work backwards through all the elements that make it up, to make sure that they are adjusted to achieve the number that you wrote on the piece of paper.
I'm not sure about that, I've recently written many thousands of words objecting to proposed widening (with a bypass) of part of the A40 between Carmarthen and Haverfordwest. The BCR for that project is 0.13; I don't think they were aiming for that one! However the way of working out the BCR is completely skewed if you ask me; as part of their case the Welsh Government argued that, with no modification to the scheme at all, a slight change to the current suituation (if the bypassed village had a 30mph speeed limit rather than 40mph) would substantially 'improve' the BCR (although it would still be less than 1) due to larger time savings for motorists compared to the do-nothing scenario. The idea that saving motorists time is a benefit to society when we are supposed to be encouraging modal shift to public transport stinks in my view.
Oh goodness, what a crusade you are on.  The road in question is the route to Fishguard, so therefore the main artery for freight traffic flows between the UK and RoI in the south of England and Wales, and where, certainly eastbound, there will be peak traffic flows just after the ferry berths.  And for passenger flows too, it's completely unrealistic to expect people not to want to take their car from one country to the other but to have to rely on public transport on both sides of the crossing, particularly given some of the crossing times. 
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« Reply #937 on: April 04, 2020, 10:03:43 am »

From the BBC: Chris Packham launches legal challenge to HS2: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-51722251

Quote
Chris Packham made this statement at the start of the court case:

"Given that the UK is a signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement, and that it has declared a ‘Climate and Environment Emergency’, I believe that this decision was plain wrong.

The cost on the ground to rare wildlife, endangered habitats and important green spaces is profound.

The carbon cost is unacceptable and fundamentally incompatible with our necessary Net Zero obligations.

The cost to the public purse , which is about to rupture due to the current catastrophe, both human and economic, is absurd. We must stop HS2 as soon as possible - for all life on earth.”

The clearing of several supposedly 'ancient' woods for HS2 is set to proceed ASAP after the high court refused Packham's emergency injunction.  He was demanding a judicial review of the government’s decision to proceed with the high-speed railway. Two high court judges decided there was ‘no real prospect of success’ for a judicial review. HS2's Timothy Mould QC helpfully pointed out that the hypocritical environmentalist should have piped up while the hybrid bill was being scrutinised by Parliament!

At a High Court hearing on Friday, two senior judges refused Packham permission to bring a claim against the Government's decision and did not grant the injunction.

Announcing the court's decision, Lord Justice Coulson said: 'This application has no realistic prospect of success, so we do not grant permission to bring judicial review proceedings.'

He also said that, even if the court had thought the application had a realistic chance of success, they 'would not have favoured granting the injunction'.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2020, 10:46:59 am by SandTEngineer » Logged

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TonyK
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« Reply #938 on: April 04, 2020, 11:28:14 am »

For any sane person, properly advised by his/her legal team, that would be the end of the matter. Throwing good money after bad is never a clever idea, but the lawyers may disagree.
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« Reply #939 on: April 09, 2020, 10:28:56 pm »

The case judgement in full: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/R-Packham-v-SST-final-approved-jdugment-for-hand-down-06-04-2020.pdf

The last paragraph of the judgement really neatly sums it up:

Quote
In any event, the clearance works were long ago authorised by Parliament and there is a strong public interest in ensuring that, in a democracy, activities sanctioned by Parliament are not stopped by individuals merely because they do not personally agree with them.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2020, 11:00:23 pm by SandTEngineer » Logged

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« Reply #940 on: April 14, 2020, 09:32:41 pm »

From railnews:

Naturalist to continue HS2 challenge

NATURALIST and broadcaster Chris Packham has refused to accept the rejection of his application for a judicial review of HS2 Phase 1. He had claimed that the environmental damage would be unacceptable, partly because ancient woodlands will be destroyed, but the High Court ruled that there is no case for an urgent injunction halting the work. At the time, the court said: ‘The clearance works were long ago authorised by parliament and there is a strong public interest in ensuring that, in a democracy, activities sanctioned by parliament are not stopped by individuals merely because they do not personally agree with them.’ However, Mr Packham has announced that he is to appeal. He said: ‘In these times of climate and environmental emergency, resilience is key. Now is not the time to give up, now is the time to muster and protect what we have left.’

HS2 work to restart at Euston

WORK on the HS2 site at London Euston had been set to restart today, but contractors will now return at the beginning of next week instead. Work on most HS2 sites, except some in the West Midlands, had been paused during the coronavirus outbreak, but HS2 Ltd said some of its contractors had now decided to restart at a ‘limited number’ of sites elsewhere. A spokesman continued: ‘Our contractors have thoroughly risk-assessed these activities and are confident they can be undertaken safely, protecting our staff and the communities in which we are working. Following further planning to ensure works follow the PHE guidance, Network Rail are now planning to restart work at the Euston site from Monday 20 April.’ The west ramp and the canopy over platforms 17 and 18 are reported to be early candidates for demolition.
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Andy
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« Reply #941 on: April 15, 2020, 11:41:45 am »

The BBC is reporting that the Government has confirmed a 'Notice to Proceed' with HS2 today.

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stuving
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« Reply #942 on: April 15, 2020, 08:17:51 pm »

The BBC is reporting that the Government has confirmed a 'Notice to Proceed' with HS2 today.

The official announcement says:
Quote
Government provides construction sector certainty by confirming 'Notice to proceed' on High Speed 2

HS2 Ltd today marks next step for the project, issuing ‘Notice to proceed’ on Britain’s new railway.
Published 15 April 2020

Following the decision to proceed with HS2 earlier this year, HS2 Ltd has today (15 April 2020) marked the next step for the project after issuing ‘Notice to proceed’ to the companies that will undertake construction on Britain’s new railway.

After careful consideration of the independent Oakervee review, the Prime Minister confirmed to Parliament in February 2020 that the project should go ahead, to deliver vital improvements to capacity and connectivity across the Midlands and North, alongside a reform package to improve governance at HS2 to ensure the project is delivered better and more efficiently. ‘Notice to proceed’ marks the formal approval for the project to begin the construction phase and HS2 Ltd is now entering Stage 2 of the main works civils contracts, with each held by a specific joint-venture.

At a time when the construction sector faces uncertainties during the coronavirus outbreak, issuing ‘Notice to proceed’ provides a vote of confidence in construction companies and the wider supply chain supporting HS2.

HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson said:

    While the government’s top priority is rightly to combat the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives, we cannot delay work on our long-term plan to level up the country.

    HS2 will be the spine of the country’s transport network, boosting capacity and connectivity while also rebalancing opportunity fairly across our towns and cities.

    Following the decision earlier this year to proceed with the project, this next step provides thousands of construction workers and businesses across the country with certainty at a time when they need it, and means that work can truly begin on delivering this transformational project.

The 4 work packages are for full detailed design and construction of Phase One of the HS2 railway. Through these contracts, small and medium businesses have the guarantee of a pipeline of activity for the future, helping to protect jobs and boost certainty for them in the current climate.

The joint-ventures that are responsible for each package of work will be able to commence work in line with Public Health England’s guidance around construction work continuing during the coronavirus outbreak, in a way both safe to their workers and the public.

The joint ventures, originally awarded contracts by HS2 Ltd in July 2017, are:

    SCS Railways (Skanska Construction UK Ltd, Costain Ltd, STRABAG AG)
    Align JV (Bouygues Travaux Publics SAS, a subsidiary of Bouygues Construction, Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick, a subsidiary of VolkerWessels UK)
    EKBF JV (Eiffage Genie Civil SA, Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Ltd, BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman)
    BBV JV (Balfour Beatty Group Ltd, VINCI Construction Grands Projets, VINCI Construction UK Ltd, VINCI Construction Terrassement)

As well as contracts being awarded today, the Department for Transport has today published the new Full business case High Speed 2 Phase One, setting out the strategic and economic case for the project and outlining how it will deliver a positive return on investment, alongside boosting capacity and connectivity needed in towns and cities across the country, delivering on the government’s levelling up agenda.

Here is the new business case referred to in that - useful if confinement is beginning to drag a bit ...
Quote
This is the full business case for the HS2 Phase One route from Birmingham to London. It includes evidence supporting the government’s authorisation of notice to proceed for main works civils contracts. The document features 5 cases:

    strategic case
    economic case
    financial case
    commercial case
    management case

The HS2 Phase One full business case builds on the HS2 outline business case that was published in 2013.
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TonyK
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« Reply #943 on: April 16, 2020, 03:10:24 pm »

From railnews:

Naturalist to continue HS2 challenge

NATURALIST and broadcaster Chris Packham has refused to accept the rejection of his application for a judicial review of HS2 Phase 1. He had claimed that the environmental damage would be unacceptable, partly because ancient woodlands will be destroyed, but the High Court ruled that there is no case for an urgent injunction halting the work. At the time, the court said: ‘The clearance works were long ago authorised by parliament and there is a strong public interest in ensuring that, in a democracy, activities sanctioned by parliament are not stopped by individuals merely because they do not personally agree with them.’ However, Mr Packham has announced that he is to appeal. He said: ‘In these times of climate and environmental emergency, resilience is key. Now is not the time to give up, now is the time to muster and protect what we have left.’


I assume that he isn't dipping his hand to his own pocket for this. He may have to launch a case just to get the Appeal Court to even consider an application to hear the appeal. I have read most of the judgment (before and after falling asleep) and the court not only effectively debunked every single argument, but also commented that the application may have been technically a bit late in the making. The court was also at pains to show that the hearing was not about whether HS2 is a good idea or not, that being a matter for Parliament to decide, but whether the three defendants (Secretary of State for Transport, Prime Minister, and HS2 Ltd) had acted within the law in making decisions. The unambiguous answer was that they had.

Any approach to the Court of Appeal would presumably have to be on the basis that the trial judge had erred in law. Sometimes, it is useful to look not only what is said, but also who said it, and Lord Justice Coulson is an appeal court judge and a Privy Counsellor. He can be reasonably assumed to know his stuff.
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« Reply #944 on: April 17, 2020, 10:39:35 am »

The judge pretty much demolished his case, and it was too late to be heard anyway.  I find it hard to believe an appeal would be accepted, even if it were to be allowed to be heard, which must be doubtful. I presume that work is now underway, given that one of the arguments for not delaying (accepted by the judge) was the need to complete certain work during April before the nesting season begins, and the financial implications if this is missed.

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