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The method and the madness

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UK government infrastructure planning requires a more “methodical approach” in place of announcing schemes such as the “£7 billion” High Speed 3 without any real background analysis. That’s the view of Olympic Delivery Authority chairman Sir John Armitt, set out in a Construction News article dated 23 July 2014 (paywall).

[‘Timing of George Osborne HS3 announcement questioned by Sir John Armitt’, Robyn Wilson, CN, 23 July 2014]

[…] Sir John told Construction News: “I’d argue that [proposals such as HS3] demonstrate the difficulty of today’s world, where we get these inspired ideas which are presented without any real background analysis.

“Clearly there is some intuitive thought that goes into them, but when you are looking at things on this scale, it’s got to be done in a much more thorough and detailed [way] to try to ensure you get the right answers and not the first one that seems obvious.”

Given the way HS2 was plucked out of a hat by Andrew Adonis, one might expect Mr Armitt to be concerned about allocating £50 billion to a project having such unsatisfactory credentials. But in a July 2012 CN article (paywall), he didn’t seem to be much bothered about the quality of the analysis for high speed rail projects.

[‘Sir John Armitt: HS2 ambition “not defendable”‘, Tom Fitzpatrick, CN, 12 July, 2012]

[…] Speaking to Construction News, the former Network Rail chief executive said France’s ambition to build 2,000 km of high-speed rail over the next two decades compared with the UK taking “16 years to build 150 km of HS2” reflected a “lack of maturity” around the infrastructure debate in the UK.

He said: “There is something wrong with the UK approach. You cannot deliver the infrastructure on the whole basis that it will assist in the speed of development of the economy if you require 16 years to build 150 km of railway line. It’s not defendable.”

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Written by beleben

July 23, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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