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HS2 and the Environment – Latest Update

As Maxim Recruitment offer senior roles on large UK infrastructure projects, we are always keen to keep up with the latest news about up-coming or contentious issues. One such project that is causing much press coverage currently is High Speed 2 (HS2).

The high speed rail line to link London to Manchester and Leeds via Birmingham continues its bumpy ride amidst concerns of costs, environmental issues and energy use. This is a landmark project in UK engineering and construction which arguably really needs to run more smoothly.

Once the coalition government’s pride and joy, environmental issues threaten to delay this mammoth infrastructure product.

Concerns over HS2 Environmental Impact
A recent review was ready but left unpublished while the National Audit Office voiced concerns over its environmental impact despite its original pitch within the coalition’s ‘environmental section’. The review questions both its impact both during and after build.

Concerns range from destroying wildlife habitats and constituent homes along the route as well as CO2 emissions once the line is in use. The review feels there will be minimal carbon savings due to use of this service rather than the roads or the air while barely compensating for the energy necessary to power the high speed trains. It stands to reason they claim that the faster the trains go the more energy will be used.

Urban Upheaval Also a Worry
The report also voices concerns over disruption within city locations during the build which they claim will have negative effects on health and wellbeing of the local population caused by construction, noise, road closures, vibrations and of course air pollution.

Not All Bad News
Whilst this all paints a rather negative picture for the HS2 moving forward, HS2 Ltd have already confirmed that this project has higher environmental standards than most other projects of a similar scale. The project already promises ‘no net biodiversity loss’.

Despite several Tory MPs including Andrea Leadsom, the Treasury Minister making negative noises in the run up to the second reading of the bill, Labour MPs seemed to be whole-heartedly behind the project insisting that the benefits will make it worthwhile. These include jobs right from the start in UK  engineering and construction as well as the important links making travel from north to south and between cities in the north easier.

Overall the general consensus expected the vote to go in favour of this high profile project making its debut on-plan. These predictions were proved right when after a six and half hour debate, the bill went through on 28th April with 452 votes in favour and only 41 against.

Although there are likely to be amendments to the bill before construction starts in 2017, this reading confirmed support from the three major parties. The first phase is expected to be operational by 2026.

Prestigious Construction Job Roles via Maxim Recruitment
This certainly stacks up well for UK construction jobs on this particular project in the future. Although most high profile projects, especially within the infrastructure sector, are now answerable to environmental issues, not all have such a long haul as HS2. If this is an area you are interested in, we have many roles in project management, engineering and quantity surveying for high profile UK projects such as HS2, so please get in touch with us by submitting your latest CV to us!

Adam Cadwaladr
Maxim Recruitment
UK – London – South East – Midlands Region



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