Updated 4 November, 07.05
THE Oakervee/Berkeley review of HS2 is not yet complete, but deputy chairman Lord Berkeley has been stood down and will not be able to influence its conclusions.
The review was commissioned in the summer, but only chairman Douglas Oakervee will make the final recommendations, along with civil servants in the Department for Transport.
Even when it is ready, the potentially controversial report is now very unlikely to be published until after the general election.
Lord (Tony) Berkeley sent a tweet on Saturday, in which he said: ‘My role as dep chair of the Oakervee Report on HS2 finished yesterday. Report not finished and no opportunity to influence conclusions. We are told that, when completed by Doug O[akervee] and the DfT secretariat, it will be locked into the DfT vaults for the new S of S to publish.’
The HS2 review may be joined in the ‘DfT vaults’ by Keith Williams’ review of railway structure, which the government had also said would be published in the autumn. Mr Williams has already revealed when giving evidence to the House of Commons Transport Committee that he will recommend the creation of a new ‘guiding mind’ organisation to oversee railway management, leaving only high level railway strategy in the hands of the DfT.
The DfT has not commented on the latest claims, repeating only that the HS2 review will be published ‘in the autumn’. This, strictly speaking, implies that the deadline is 22 December, barely a week after a new government will have taken over.