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Work on HS2 is latest to stop during coronavirus emergency

CONTRACTORS working at HS2 sites are reported to be suspending their work in reaction to the coronavirus emergency.

The move follows the news that work on Transport for London and Crossrail construction sites has already been temporarily suspended.

The sites included in the pause apparently include those being run by the Costain Skanska joint venture at London Euston, Old Oak Common and other enabling sites in Greater London.

A second team of Skanska, Costain and Strabag has also being carrying out works in the London area, and it is also said to have stopped work.

The reason for the halt seems to be the difficulty in maintaining social distances on work sites, as part of coronavirus precautions. There are also calls for the Government to ban all construction work on ‘non-essential’ sites, including house building and road projects. One major exception is set to be the conversion of the ExCeL conference centre in London Docklands into a 4000-bed emergency hospital.

There is no formal statement on the HS2 or DfT websites, but HS2 Ltd is being quoted as saying ‘HS2 Ltd has been working to ensure business critical and key activities at both our sites and offices were kept going, while following NHS and Public Health England guidance. We are working closely with our joint venture partners, who are responsible for their sites, the health, safety and well-being of their staff and the impact of their work on the adjacent community.

‘Over the course of this week and into next, we will be reviewing the majority of works on our construction sites in line with government advice on dealing with COVID-19.

‘Other firms working on the project are understood to still be looking at whether or how they can continue to keep sites open.’

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