Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
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Next steps for developing High-Speed Rail 2 in the UK

Morning, Thursday, 18th March 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference focuses on HS2.

It takes place with the Government treating the HS2 project as a central part of its transport infrastructure modernisation programme - alongside wider goals on increasing national connectivity, boosting regional economic growth, and the creation of a low-carbon transport network.

Stakeholders and key policymakers will discuss:

  • priorities and next steps for securing the successful and cost-effective delivery of the stages of HS2
  • what will be needed to ensure that potential economic and other benefits can be maximised for the affected regions
  • implications of HS2 development for the wider outlook for UK transport infrastructure and the UK economy

The agenda:

  • Policy priorities and the ongoing development of HS2 - cost, transport network modernisation, and unlocking benefits for the entire UK
  • Next steps for delivering high-speed rail and maximising benefits for Phase One - developing the domestic supply chain, cost and value for money, and West London and the Old Oak Common regeneration
  • Addressing development barriers for Phase 2a and Phase 2b and integration with the Integrated Rail Plan
    • Designing financially sustainable plans for connectivity to the Midlands and North, and meeting the challenges of on-time project delivery
    • Construction and collaboration - tackling barriers, operating within planning and environmental policy, and working with public and private stakeholders
    • Achieving local and regional benefits from HS2 - what is needed from development to increase business opportunities, widen capacity between cities, and effectively contribute to the levelling up agenda
    • Placing consumer needs at the centre of high-speed rail development for the Midlands and North - improving connectivity, journey times, and service reliability
    • How best to align HS2 with wider transport infrastructure in the regions - integration with Rail Hubs, regional development plans, and utilising local supply partners
  • Monitoring the development of HS2 and its connection to the national transport network, and assessing priorities for rail operation in the long-term

The background at a glance:

  • the Oakervee review - the independent review recommended HS2 confirmation on strict conditions including assurances on taxpayer value, project integration with the wider transport network, and guarantees on the development of other rail projects across the Midlands and the North
  • HS2 Phase One go-ahead - with the HS2 6 monthly report to Parliament identifying priorities for budget affordability and acknowledging the construction of the project as officially underway at multiple sites in London
  • planning permission approval for Old Oak Common HS2 station - the site will serve as a West London super hub for UK train services, including high-speed rail to the Midlands 
  • the HS2 Phase 2a: High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill - including provisions for constructing the Phase 2a route and acquiring project finance for its intended route and connections
  • the HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg Design Refinement Consultation  - which addressed uncertainties in policy and financial commitments for the Midlands-North route, and alignment with wider transport infrastructure and policy objectives
  • the integrated rail plan - aiming to tie together the Northern Powerhouse Rail and the Midlands Rail Hub projects, and contribute to enhanced connectivity, and business and economic opportunities
  • the Prime Minister’s New Deal for Britain - the plan recommits to the Spring Budget’s £640bn for public infrastructure projects, including rail
  • the HS2 Sustainability Policy - outlining key social and environmental goals for HS2 including contributions to national regeneration, economic growth and wage and job expansion, improving services for passengers, and delivering more low-carbon options for public transport

Key areas for discussion:

  • HS2 Phase One - priorities for the continuing development including maintaining value for taxpayers, and unlocking benefits from improved London to Midlands connectivity:
    • project value and cost-effectiveness - enhancing partnerships with domestic supply chains, reducing reliance on non-UK materials and services, and latest thinking on minimising indirect costs such as planning permissions and land rights
    • tackling Phase One development challenges - increasing certainty on project design and business cases, construction milestone achievability, and effective community engagement
    • Old Oak Common - realising its potential as a vehicle for local regeneration including new housing and business development, and as a possible central rail hub for connectivity across the UK 
  • Phase 2a and Phase 2b - and supporting economic expansion in the Midlands and North:
    • policy and financial priorities - clarity and fairness in delivery cost estimates, aligning project design with track and train requirements, and improving cooperation at all levels of government
    • securing economic benefits - reducing time and physical barriers between key regions, supporting widened business connections and prospects for growth, and pooling of local employment and supply chain opportunities for involvement in project development
    • project coordination:
      • rail infrastructure projects in the Midlands and the North - targeting specific infrastructure deficiencies and rail improvement needs, how best to phase in project delivery, and enabling HS2 to dovetail with adjacent projects across the regions
      • policy support - what is required from leaders in Westminster and across England’s regions in the integration of HS2 with other rail infrastructure projects
  • supporting economic recovery - prospects, priorities and strategies:
    • levelling up - enabling HS2 and related transport projects to fulfil their central role envisaged by government in helping revitalise economies across England’s regions and the rest of the UK
    • wider economic impact - creating demand and development opportunities for local and regional supply chains, apprenticeships and career opportunities, and driving up productivity
    • delivering customer benefits - overcoming challenges for improving service quality, achieving a balance between ticket affordability and project payback, reducing punctuality issues, and increasing the role of consumer feedback and input

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government officials in this area of public policy, together with other stakeholders from across the transport sector including rail companies and their advisors, infrastructure and construction firms, local government, technology and innovation platforms, passenger groups, environmental groups, logistics firms and consultancies, professional services companies, researchers from academia and higher education, as well as reporters from the national and specialist media, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Nick Bisson

Director, HS2 Phase 2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, Department for Transport


Nick Vaughan

Director, Head of Greater London Residential Development, Savills

Andrew Went

Director and Business Leader, UKIMEA Rail and Global High Speed Rail, Arup

Tim Wood

Northern Powerhouse Rail Director, Transport for the North

David Clarke

Technical Director, Railway Industry Association