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HS2 challenge panels

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Strategic Challenge Panel | Analytical Challenge Panel | Technical Expert Panel |
Consultation Peer Review Group | Meetings

Extract from HS2 Analytical Challenge Panel 17 Aug 2010 minutes - redacted

HS2 Ltd’s website outlines the HS2 project’s External Challenge Groups.

The External Challenge Groups have been set up to ensure that HS2’s approach to High Speed Rail is rigorously scrutinised at every stage. They are comprised of panels of independent experts specialising in the groups’ respective areas of focus and they challenge and reinforce; they will challenge and reinforce HS2’s strategic, technical and analytical approaches.

If you are interested in the work of any of our panels, please contact us on or by any of the methods listed on our contacts page. We respectfully ask that you do not approach any of our panel members directly.

Strategic Challenge Panel

The Strategic Panel provides strategic challenge and an independent perspective on how HS2 develops proposals for a new railway line from London to the West Midlands and potentially beyond. It also scrutinises the proposal themselves and their fit with the strategic objectives.

In particular, the panel will provide views on:

HS2’s overall approach – from option generation to stakeholder involvement – to ensure it is fit for purpose and will ultimately deliver results that are sufficiently robust and comprehensive;
whether all relevant factors, including wider economic impacts, are being taken into account in our sifting and appraisal methodologies to ensure that the outputs are reliable and take account of the wider costs and benefits;
whether the option selection process is both sensible and publicly defensible;
whether the proposals generated are appropriate solutions to our strategic objectives;
HS2’s assessment of corridors for potential development of a high speed line.

Expert Panel Members:

Kate Barker CBE – Monetary Policy Committee Member, Bank of England
Prof. David Begg – Chair of the Northern Way Transport Compact
Richard Brown CBE – Chief Executive, Eurostar
Tony Collins – Chief Executive, Virgin Trains
Iain Coucher – Chief Executive, Network Rail
Stephen Joseph OBE – Executive Director, Campaign for Better Transport
David Leeder – Vice Chair, Commission for Integrated Transport
Sir Michael Lyons – Chairman of the BBC Trust
Anthony Smith – Chief Executive, Passenger Focus
Tony Travers – Director, Greater London Group, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Analytical Challenge Panel

The Analytical Challenge Panel scrutinises HS2’s analytical plan and outputs. In particular it provides advice and scrutiny on the models developed, and of specific issues relating to Wider Economic Benefits.

Analytical Panel Members:

Prof. Robert Cochrane – Transport planner and visiting Professor Imperial College London
Prof. Stephen Glaister CBE – Director of the Royal Automobile Club Foundation and Professor of Transport and Infrastructure, Imperial College London
Prof. Peter Mackie – Research Prof. Institute for Transport Studies, Leeds University
Prof. Henry Overman – Director Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE
Dr. David Simmonds – Director, David Simmonds Consultancy Ltd
Prof. Roger Vickerman – Director of the Centre for European, Regional and Transport Economics, University of Kent

Technical Expert Panel

The Technical Expert Panel will advise and scrutinise HS2’s engineering, operations and environmental impact work plan. In particular it looks at specific issues relating to the railway systems being considered, the interaction with the existing rail network and the relationship of environment and planning with engineering.

Expert Panel Members:

Ted Allett – Formerly Planning Director of Union Railways and expert on route development, planning and environmental assessment
Mike Ash CBE, MRTPI – Formerly Chief Planner at the Department for Communities and Local Government
Keith Berryman – Engineering Advisor to Crossrail
Clive Burrows FREng – Director of Engineering, First Group
Prof Andy Collop – Head of Civil Engineering Dept at Nottingham University
Alan Dyke – Former Chief Engineer and Managing Director of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Project (HS1), now an Independent Consultant
Prof Robert Mair FREng FRS – Cambridge University
Hugh Norrie OBE FREng – Government’s Agent for Channel Tunnel Rail Link
Prof Roderick Smith FREng – Chair of Future Rail Studies at Imperial College, London and Vice President of the IMechE

Consultation Peer Review Group

The Consultation Peer Review Group webpage does not define its purpose or identify who its members are.


The challenge panels’ meetings with HS2 Ltd have also included staff from other organisations, such as the consultancy company Atkins. However, there are no detailed minutes, and even the names of people attending have been replaced by ‘XXXX’.


[Edit: HS2 Ltd altered the Consultation Peer Review Group page to include the following (as at 23 Feb 2012)]

We set up an independent peer review group to challenge the planning and implementation of our consultations and engagement. Panel members will be independent professionals who have experience of consultations, transport infrastructure projects or communications.

The panel will provide:

feedback on key aspects of our strategy

an independent view

checks that our consultations are fit for purpose, comply with Cabinet office guidelines and are consistent with consultation best practice

advice on consultation delivery

checks to ensure that plans are followed

feedback on response analysis processes


2 Responses

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  1. […] basis, or to present the public and politicians with balanced information. When members of the HS2 challenge panels have expressed scepticism about the economic benefits and technical parameters, these views have […]

  2. […] the 6 August 2011 blogpost, I observed that the public notes of HS2 challenge panels provided no clue as to who said […]

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