November 2020 UK Project Management Round Up


High Speed 2, New Nuclear, Covid News, BREXIT, Short Reports & Silver Linings (UK PM Roundup)



By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK




This may be the “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” according to John Keats but as I sit at my desk surveying the grounds of Chateau Shepherd, all I see about me are grey clouds, puddles, fallen leaves and rain.  This gloomy outlook is possibly a reflection of the state of the country as good news is in distinctly short supply.  There is some but you will find it at the end of this month’s outpouring.  On the bad news side, there is plenty to report.  England is following Wales and Scotland into lockdown so the run up to the year-end festivities is looking pretty bleak.  As you might imagine, two topics dominate the PM World in UK this month and neither present much in the way of good news.  There is also news about HS2 and new nuclear; I’ll close with a summary of other snippets that show the way for project managers in years to come.


The latest threat to High Speed 2 involves ancient forests.  They don’t grow quickly enough to directly threaten any encroachment but according to the Woodland Trust some 68 ancient woodlands are threatened by the programme.  More to the point, HS2 is proposing to cut down these woods in a series of acts that also threaten wildlife habitats.  In phase 1, the London to Birmingham link, 21 ancient woods, covering a combined area of 409ha, will suffer direct loss (this may be a euphemism for being cut down but the meaning is not clear) with a further 12 are at risk from noise, vibration and further infrastructure such as roads.

Interestingly, the challenge has been built around not just complete woods but individual trees in an appeal to British sentiment over well established environments.  The challenge cites three ancient trees being lost with another 16 lying within 200m.  Later website postings claim more that 100 woodlands are under threat, probably not all from HS2.

In response, HS2 claim that protesters are focusing on small scale of loss caused by Europe’s largest infrastructure project.  According to Natural England’s Ancient Woodland Inventory, there are 366,060 hectares of ancient woodland.  The 58 hectares affected amount to less than 1% of the total.

Image: The Times

The past month has seen the felling of the 250 year-old Cubbington Pear Tree, the second oldest in the country, to make way for the new railway line.  Protestors had campaigned for a tunnel under the woods but HS2, not surprisingly, rejected that because of the projected cost at £46 million.

HS2 continues to receive a bad press, exemplified by the banner head-line that it is £800M over budget despite the “reset” six months ago.  Recent government reports warn of new “cost pressures” caused in part by protest action over land clearances between London and Birmingham for Phase 1.  Additionally, other challenges including the need to remove more asbestos from buildings than previously thought. Additional complications on the design of HS2’s southern terminus at Euston have also driven up anticipated costs, it emerged.

Despite all this, there is intense demand for HS2 to be extended.  I reported last month on the North Eastern extension and now we learn that an East Midlands extension has the support of the PM (our illustrious leader, not the project manager).  So the saga will rumble on for the foreseeable future.


To read entire report, click here

How to cite this report: Shepherd, M. (2020). UK Project Management Roundup, report, PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue XI, November. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/pmwj99-Nov2020-Shepherd-UK-Regional-Report.pdf



About the Author

Miles Shepherd

Salisbury, UK


 Miles Shepherd is an executive editorial advisor and international correspondent for PM World Journal in the United Kingdom. He is also managing director for MS Projects Ltd, a consulting company supporting various UK and overseas Government agencies, nuclear industry organisations and other businesses.  Miles has over 30 years’ experience on a variety of projects in UK, Eastern Europe and Russia.  His PM experience includes defence, major IT projects, decommissioning of nuclear reactors, nuclear security, rail and business projects for the UK Government and EU.  Past Chair, Vice President and Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM), Miles is also past president and chair and a Fellow of the International Project Management Association (IPMA).  He was a Director for PMI’s Global Accreditation Centre and is immediate past Chair of the ISO committee developing new international standards for Project Management and for Program/Portfolio Management.  Miles is Chair of the British Standards Institute’s Committee on Project, Programme and Portfolio Management and has been involved in the development of Uk’s BSI 6079 for more than 25 years.  He was involved in setting up APM’s team developing guidelines for project management oversight and governance.  Miles is based in Salisbury, England and can be contacted at miles.shepherd@msp-ltd.co.uk.

To view other works by Miles Shepherd, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/miles-shepherd/.