Deighton puts new local development authorities at heart of HS2 growth plans

Infrastructure Minister Lord Deighton has put the creation of new local development authorities at the heart of his plans to ensure that the UK maximises the economic and social benefits of investment in the High Speed 2 project. 

Lord Deighton, infrastructure minister

For each station and city touched by the £50bn project linking London, Birmingham Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds a new growth strategy needs to be established to enable locally led authorities to bring forward wider growth and regeneration, he said.

The conclusions were part of nineteen recommendation made by the Growth Task Force led by Deighton, set up to drive maximum social and economic benefit from the HS2 project .

“Our conclusion is that HS2 could be much more than a railway,” explained Deighton in the report High Speed 2: Get Ready, published this week.

“It could be an exciting and transformational opportunity, particularly for our cities in the Midlands and the North, to invest in our future economic growth,” he added. “This report makes clear that we must not take a ‘build it and they will come’ attitude to HS2. It is up to all of us in the Government, local authorities, HS2 Ltd and UK businesses to make the most of this unique opportunity.”

Deighton, the man in charge of delivering the 2012 Olympic Games, drew on his experiences as a model for maximising the benefits of HS2 to the UK.

“The most powerful lesson I drew from the Olympics was the extraordinary capability we have in this country when we believe in something,” he said. “When we focus on a clear set of objectives and go about delivering them collaboratively, with everyone working together, from across the private and public sectors, across the country and across political parties, we can achieve pretty much anything.”

Lord Deighton is to give the keynote address at the ACE Annual Conference on 21 May - book here 

The nineteen findings and recommendations from the Deighton Task Force

Getting our cities ready

1. HS2 stations, and the land around them, offer a canvas for urban regeneration to transform our cities.

For each HS2 station there needs to be established an ‘HS2 Growth Strategy’ by the end of 2014 to explain how high speed rail will generate local jobs, growth and regeneration.

2. Successful regeneration projects have dedicated delivery bodies.

To deliver these HS2 Growth Strategies local authorities need to establish a locally led delivery body by the end of 2014. The Government should support them in bringing forward regeneration.

3. A “business as usual” approach to regeneration around HS2 stations risks cities failing to capture the benefits of HS2.

The Government should partner local authorities in the development and delivery of HS2 Growth Strategies. The Government should also establish a central delivery body to provide coordination and support to local areas.

4. Strong leadership is key to delivering successful regeneration around HS2 stations.

The Government should appoint a Minister with responsibility for HS2-related economic growth and regeneration

Getting our transport network ready

5. HS2 should be at the heart of an effective transport network which spreads the economic benefits of the project as widely as possible between our city regions.

Work to include detailed consideration of HS2 in existing Local Plans and Strategic Economic Plans should be well underway by the end of 2014, including relevant aspects of the HS2 Growth Strategy.

6. Some strategic benefits from HS2 will only be achieved if city regions collaborate better.

Collaboration across organisations and administrative boundaries must be strengthened to support transport planning around HS2

7. There is growing awareness, but little certainty, of the transformational impact HS2 will have on railway services across the country.

The Government and Network Rail should set out by the end of 2014 their plan for defining how HS2 will affect rail services for cities off the HS2 route and for rail freight, and also their plans for a wider review of rail services.

8. HS2 offers significant growth opportunities to the rail freight industry.

The Government should invite the rail freight industry to set out how it could take advantage of the capacity released by HS2. Separately, the Government should evaluate the case for future-proofing HS2 to accommodate freight traffic and communicate its plans to do this.

9. It is important that we have the best possible understanding of the economic impacts of major transport projects, including HS2.

The Government must complete as soon as possible, and act upon, the review of how its transport appraisal methodology quantifies economic benefits. It should set out its plan and timetable for this work by the end of 2014. The Government should apply any revisions to its approach to any future extensions to HS2, alongside greater and earlier local engagement to understand local economic impacts.

10. Station location is critical to maximising the benefits of HS2. We must learn the lessons of other high speed rail projects to ensure we take the right decisions.

The Government’s decisions on Phase Two station locations should be informed by a thorough examination of economic growth potential in each proposed station location.

Getting our people ready

11.We already have a shortage of rail engineers. We need to grow the skills necessary to run our current railways and also to build, maintain and operate HS2.

The Government must make growing the railway engineering and advanced construction skills base a national priority and set out how the planned HS2 Skills College will contribute to this by the end of 2014.

12. University Technical Colleges have been very successful, but there remains an unwarranted belief that vocational learning is “second-best”.

HS2 Ltd and University Technical Colleges, supported by the Government, should put in place specific HS2 links and curriculum options.

13. Railways have an image problem. Many people lack understanding of modern-day engineering, and parents and children do not understand that HS2 will open up opportunities for well-paid careers.

The Government, HS2 Ltd and industry need to develop an HS2 out-reach programme by mid-2015, formally linked into the education system.

14.HS2 has the potential to set a new benchmark for the quality of skills development and careers prospects it provides.

HS2 Ltd should design a procurement process which requires suppliers to meet the highest standards in terms of apprenticeships, job creation and skills development and set out its approach by autumn 2014.

15. HS2 should provide access to jobs and training for local people.

The Government and local authorities need to work together to agree and put in place new local models to link workforces to potential HS2 job opportunities.

Getting our businesses ready

16.There are huge opportunities for UK businesses to win contracts for the design and construction of HS2. The procurement process must not create barriers for smaller businesses.

HS2 Ltd should set new standards for industry engagement and open procurement. Its procurement strategy should require main contractors to use open procurement tools to advertise HS2 opportunities and the process should be streamlined where possible to ensure there are no barriers for small businesses..

17. Businesses across the UK should engage actively with HS2, but need support from their local areas.

LEPs and local authorities should target businesses in their areas and set up dedicated advice and support centres to help them get ready for HS2.

18. There is great innovation to be found in UK companies and we need the right structures to harness this for HS2.

HS2 Ltd should make HS2 an exemplar project for collaborative working across businesses to drive innovation and achieve excellence in delivery.

19. HS2 should be a rewarding place to work, with good industrial relations which support efficient delivery.

HS2 Ltd must ensure strong working relationships with its contractors and workforces to deliver exceptional results. It should start discussions with employers and trade unions by the end of 2014 to agree a framework to deliver high standards in working practices and skills development

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