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Safeguarding fears could see costs rise on Crossrail 2

Crossrail 2 3to2

Transport for London (TfL) has admitted that the cost of buying land for its Crossrail 2 project could escalate because of a lack of “safeguarding” on the proposed route for the cross-London line. 

In papers released yesterday (Wednesday), it emerged that the current planned route for the £31bn line is at risk from local development because safeguarding measures do not cover all sections.

The transport body had wanted to update the measures, which protect areas of land required for future infrastructure projects, following a public consultation originally due to start early this year. However that consultation has now been delayed and is not expected until the first quarter of 2019 “at the earliest”.

Unless it is safeguarded, land required for a future route could be built on by other developers, potentially making it expensive for TfL to reclaim the land at a later date.

Although the central section of the cross-London route has protections in place, the outer parts of the south-west to north-east line currently sit outside of the protected area.

The report said: “Risk to the land and property costs is emerging as the current safeguarding directions do not reflect the SOBC [strategic outline business case] route alignment. It was intended to request a revision of the directions following a route-wide consultation in early 2018.

“That consultation has been postponed pending the outcome of the funding, financing and affordability work. TfL and the DfT are working together to mitigate this risk.”

A public consultation on Crossrail 2 was due to take place in January this year. However, it was pushed back when the government requested an independent funding review of the £31bn mega-project, which will not report its findings until late summer.

The public consultation is now not expected to take place until the first quarter of 2019 “at the earliest”, delaying the Hybrid Bill submission from May 2020 to the “early 2020s”.

TfL’s managing director for Crossrail 2 Michele Dix said: “We have been updating our work to show how London could pay for half of the costs of Crossrail 2 during construction, as we agreed with the Department for Transport (DfT) last summer. We have examined different ways to reduce the overall cost of the scheme and have looked for potential savings in the design, in order to ensure best value for money.

“We are now working with the DfT to agree the terms of reference for an independent funding and financing review, which we expect to be completed later this year. Subject to the outcome of this we will submit an updated strategic outline business case to the DfT, with a view to moving forward to the next stage of public consultation in 2019. Once we have feedback from the public, we will continue to develop our plans and prepare to submit a Hybrid Bill.”

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