NAO publishes scathing HS2 report

The National Audit Office has just published a new report into the planning of HS2. Its findings provide food for thought, namely that its cost is likely to rise from the funded £55 billion to £88 billion.

But it also points the finger to the Government and HS2 Ltd for two critical errors in their approach to the project. First, they underestimated the project's complexity. Second, they were unable to assess uncertainty and risk correctly by using examples from high speed lines in other countries that do not really map out to the UK. It did not help either that the assumptions made regarding ground conditions did not map out either.

Furthermore, the report also questions HS2 Ltd capability to manage the whole programme, expecting it to develop as the project progresses. This goes to show the 'myth' that at the apex of the procurement pyramid there is plenty of capacity and know how for tackling complex projects.

In consequence the whole project looks to cost more and  deadlines to overrun.