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Olympic effect means HS3 could be on the move in 10 years, says Adonis

Andrew Adonis

National confidence in Britain’s ability to deliver big projects means that HS3 will be going ahead within 10 years, former transport secretary Lord Andrew Adonis has said.

He also predicted that Crossrail 2 would be developed within the same time frame as HS3 and suggested that the Chancellor would likely be allocating funds to develop the second Crossrail scheme within the next few weeks. Both schemes were beneficiaries of the successful delivery of London 2012, he said.

“The general success of Crossrail which is being built in a set time frame and under budget makes Crossrail 2 a logical progression to develop with HS3.”

Adonis was speaking at the National Infrastructure Planning Association annual dinner.

“The London 2012 Olympics came as a pleasant national shock – it was possible and it all worked. And it created a huge sense of national self confidence…leading to a sustained sense of national purpose and confidence in our ability to deliver,” he said.

HS2 was already a beneficiary of that confidence he said. “Four months ago Parliament voted 10 to 1 in favour of the HS2 Bill and we can be reasonably confident that by the end of next year it will become law. Now we have plans for HS3 and I am fairly confident that this will go through in the next 10 years too.

“The general success of Crossrail which is being built in a set time frame and under budget makes Crossrail 2 a logical progression to develop with HS3.”

Adonis compared current plans to upgrade the country’s infrastructure with the activities of the Victorians. “The Victorians managed very well to combine the (architectural styles of the) past with ruthless modernisation, making Britain the workshop of the world and London its greatest metropolis. The also provided us with infrastructure that saw us through the 20th century (a century of two world wars and crisis management brought on by the end of Empire).”

“Now we have to balance the need to treasure the past with modernising the country and equip our cities for the unprecedented level of expectation and demand, not just for us but for many generations to come.”

His own party’s (Labour’s) plan developed by the Armitt Commission for an independent, cross party national infrastructure committee with a brief to publish infrastructure plans for 30 years ahead is part of the understanding that there is much to be done, he said. “And I think that even if the Conservatives are elected they will take forward a similar idea.”