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Independent Construction Commissioner Appointed to Deal with HS2 Complaints

An independent construction commissioner has been appointed to referee any complaints and disputes that may arise from the public during construction work of the HS2 project.

Gareth Epps been appointed construction commissioner of the HS2 project on an interim basis and he will now investigate any matters that cannot be resolved by the complaints process of HS2 Ltd.

The appointment of Epps is on an interim basis pending the passage of the enabling legislation and after royal assent, an independent body of project stakeholders will determine the full terms of reference and agree on a permanent appointment.

Epps had previously worked in community relations on the Crossrail project for nine years and has also led the Liberal Democrat group on Reading Borough Council.

The general election of 2015 saw him stand as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Keighley, in which he came fifth with 2.7% of the vote, while the 2001 general election saw him stand against David Cameron in Witney.

In his role of HS2 construction commissioner, Epps’ main roles will be: to monitor complaints and providing reports marking trends and providing advice on how to reduce the instance of complaints where possible, to make sure that people affected by HS2 know he exists and what he does and to mediate in unresolved disputes between HS2 Ltd and individuals or bodies, including claims under the Small Claims Scheme.

Simon Kirby, Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, commented: “We recognise that people will be affected by the construction of the line and are thoroughly committed to ensuring that those people are treated fairly and all practicable measures are taken to minimise disruption.

“Improving our approach to affected communities is at the very top of our priority list. We are continuously striving to refine our complaints handling and improve community engagement. The appointment of a Construction Commissioner is a key part of that process.”

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BDC 314 : Mar 2024