Would You like a feature Interview?
All Interviews are 100% FREE of Charge
Amid renewed speculation about HS2’s future, the question returns as to why the UK is particularly bad at delivering major infrastructure projects.
While countries such as France, Spain, Germany and China appear to be able to build without significant delays or additional costs, the UK is far behind.
Here Me Find out the reasons behind the UK’s disappointing record for building large projects.
Why is HS2 over budget?
By its very nature, building a high-speed rail network is expensive, and doing so in densely populated islands such as the United Kingdom is even more expensive. The plan has been plagued with legal problems from the start, although the cost of purchasing properties through which the rail link passes has taken a financial toll. The pandemic, soaring inflation and the challenge of finding trained staff to work on the plan are all adding to the rising costs.
How does Britain compare to other countries?
badly. When it comes to rail projects, the UK is not very good at meeting deadlines and budgets. Spain has served her more than 5,500 km of high-speed rail in the last 30 years, more than any other European country and her second only to China. Britain, by contrast, delivered her less than 500km during that time, or HS1. Crossrail has been delayed for years and he overshot budget by £4 billion.
Why is Britain so bad at building railroads?
One is geography. The UK is smaller and more densely populated than the likes of Spain, France and Germany, so these countries have had to deal with expensive compulsory purchase orders and legal issues to run railroads through towns and villages. there is not. Another reason is the UK’s tortuous planning system. This could keep the project embroiled in legal disputes for years. The need for long-term environmental audits is also a major factor. In Spain, all of these issues are dealt with before the project is tendered, ready for the contractor to come on board and build.
Are you just bad at delivering rail projects?
No. Most major infrastructure schemes are bogged down in both time and cost. Heathrow Terminal 5 took 20 years to build and had the longest public hearing in British history. China built several entire airports during the same period. Wembley Stadium was originally supposed to cost around £200m, but he jumped to over £750m when completed. The 2012 Olympics came on time (thanks to a very clear deadline) and (slightly) £2 billion over budget – a success by British standards.