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New Chair of HS2 announced

Doug Oakervee will be standing down as Chairman of HS2 Ltd at the end of 2013. His successor has been announced as current Network Rail Chief Executive Sir David Higgins, who will join HS2 Ltd on 1st January 2014 on a part time basis before taking up the post full time from March.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said:

“The fantastic work that Doug Oakervee has delivered as Chairman of HS2 Ltd is testament to the experience and expertise that he brought to this role. His energy and professionalism have ensured that the detailed proposals for Phase 1 of the country’s first high speed line north of London will be introduced to Parliament on schedule later this year. The appointment of Sir David Higgins to replace Doug Oakervee ensures that we will continue to have leaders at the heart of HS2 who have a track record of delivery. His experience at both Network Rail and as Chief Executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority – where he oversaw construction of the magnificent Olympic Park, a legacy which will be enjoyed by generations – will be essential to ensure we deliver HS2 on time and on budget.”

Mr Oakervee will remain in post to oversee the introduction of the Government’s Hybrid Bill before the end of this year. The Bill will secure Parliamentary approval for Phase 1 of the 350 mile route between London and Birmingham, allowing work to start in 2017 and freeing-up essential capacity for passengers and freight across the rail network.

Chief Executive of Network Rail Sir David Higgins said:

“I am delighted to be taking up this role. Working at Network Rail I know the challenges we have ahead with capacity on the railways – they are real and we need to take action now.  I also know the significant benefits that improved journey times between our northern cities will bring not just to the north, but the UK economy as a whole. HS2 is the right solution.  It is vital for both passengers and the economy and will put the UK in a different league in terms of infrastructure. My first priority will be to rigorously scrutinise costs to ensure they remain under control. HS2 presents a strategic opportunity for this country and I am determined to make sure we take it by delivering a railway that will allow business and communities to prosper in the long term.”