Publication of the government's independent review into HS2 is set to be delayed until after the general election, according to the deputy chair of the review panel.
A decision on whether to proceed with HS2 had been expected by the end of the year, and Lord Berkeley, deputy chair of the Oakervee Review and previously a vocal critic of HS2, also claims he has been given no opportunity to influence the final report.
The civil engineer, who previously worked on the construction of the Channel Tunnel, said that publication of the review has been put on hold until after the general election and the appointment of a new secretary of state for transport.
Tweeting at the weekend, 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 [Oakervee] and the DfT secretariat, it will be locked into the DfT vaults for the new S of S [secretary of state] to publish."
The future of HS2 was called into serious doubt in August, after the government announced an independent review into “whether and how to proceed” with the multi-billion pound project.
Berkeley, a railway expert and Labour peer, has repeatedly challenged the department for transport’s cost figures and warned that the budgets were spiralling out of control.
The review is being chaired by Douglas Oakervee, a retired engineer and ally of the prime minister, Boris Johnson, in his time at City Hall.