• Wendover Parish Council

Baroness Bowles of Berkhamsted questions to the Department for Transport

23rd June 2021


Answered on: Monday 21 June 2021

Department for Transport

Baroness Bowles Of Berkhamsted : To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a decision was taken by HS2 Ltd to instruct contractors EKFB not to formally evaluate and assess alternative proposals for a short-mined tunnel at Wendover on HS2 Phase One; and if so on what date. [HL716]

Baroness Vere Of Norbiton :EKFB were not instructed, either by the Department for Transport or HS2 Ltd, to formally evaluate the Wendover short-mined tunnel proposal. This decision was made on the basis that significant design work would be required to bring the proposal up to the same design maturity as the consented scheme, and that this was not an effective use of public money. This decision was communicated to David Lidington MP in October 2018.


Answered on: Monday 21 June 2021

Department for Transport

Baroness Bowles Of Berkhamsted : To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they required HS2 Ltd to produce a rigorous assessment of costs in relation to alternative proposals for a short-mined tunnel at Wendover on HS2 Phase One. [HL719]

Baroness Vere Of Norbiton :In 2017 the Department for Transport asked HS2 Ltd to assess an alternative mined tunnel proposal produced by a third party with the support of local stakeholders. HS2 Ltd’s response included a comparative assessment which highlighted where HS2 Ltd disputed the costs put forward in the proposal. HS2 Ltd’s assessment concluded that the costs of the proposal were underestimated. This assessment was supplied to David Lidington MP in December 2017 and Rob Butler MP in March 2020.


Answered on: Monday 21 June 2021

Department for Transport

Baroness Bowles Of Berkhamsted : To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their latest estimate of the costs and construction time of the current consented scheme at Wendover on HS2 Phase One. [HL720]

Baroness Vere Of Norbiton :The cost of delivering the new railway is spread across a number of contracts that cover different geographical areas. For Wendover this includes Enabling Works (Fusion JV for Colne Valley to Long Itchington), Main Civil Works (EKFB for Chilterns Tunnel North Portal to Long Itchington Tunnel South Portal) and railway systems contracts (separate route-wide contracts including signalling, rails, track bed, and overhead line equipment).

HS2 Ltd does not routinely apply cost apportionment on the basis of geographical sections, as cost and schedule control measures are applied to the contractors delivering specific requirements or assets which will typically sit across geographical boundaries.

However, the delivery of the new railway in the Wendover area, and across the Phase One route, remains within both the budget and schedule estimates provided at the point of Notice to Proceed in April 2020.


Answered on: Monday 21 June 2021

Department for Transport

Baroness Bowles Of Berkhamsted : To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have received any formal requests to undertake a cost and construction assessment of the alternative proposal to build a short-mined tunnel at Wendover on HS2 Phase One. [HL715]

Baroness Vere Of Norbiton :The Department for Transport has received successive requests to assess the Wendover short-mined tunnel proposal. The Department considered the proposal on the basis of assessments conducted by HS2 Ltd in 2017 and by independent consultants in 2018.


Answered on: Monday 21 June 2021

Department for Transport

Baroness Bowles Of Berkhamsted : To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a decision was made to restrict EKFB’s design scope to the surface scheme solely as it passed Wendover on HS2 Phase One; and if so (1) on what date the decision was taken, (2) who took the decision, and (3) whether Wendover is the only location on HS2 Phase One that EKFB were prevented from seeking cost savings and engineering efficiencies. [HL718]

Baroness Vere Of Norbiton :The Department for Transport has made no decision or instruction, to either HS2 Ltd or to EKFB, to restrict EKFB from seeking cost savings or engineering efficiencies in relation to any part of the route, including Wendover. In accordance with Lord Ahmad’s statement to the House of Lords on 24 January 2017, HS2 contractors were advised to identify efficiencies within the limits of the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Act 2017


Answered on: Monday 21 June 2021

Department for Transport

Baroness Bowles Of Berkhamsted : To ask Her Majesty's Government whether formal discussions were held between HS2 Ltd and EKFB before the decision was taken not to consider the alternative Wendover short-mined tunnel proposal. [HL717]

Baroness Vere Of Norbiton :The Wendover short-mined tunnel proposal was considered by the Department, upon receipt of advice from HS2 Ltd and from independent consultants, in both 2017 and 2018. The proposal was not, however, adopted on the basis that it was more difficult to construct, would cost more, would take longer to construct, and would require new powers to be sought. As previously stated, there was the one formal discussion involving HS2 Ltd, EFKB and DfT in April 2019, which related to a further request to reconsider the proposal again.

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