HS2 chairman Allan Cook resigns

1 February 2021, 18:09 | Updated: 1 February 2021, 18:23

HS2 Ltd chairman Allan Cook has handed in his resignation
HS2 Ltd chairman Allan Cook has handed in his resignation. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

HS2 Ltd chairman Allan Cook has handed in his resignation, HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson has announced.

Mr Cook will leave his role at the end of July. His first term as chairman was due to run until December 2021.

In a letter to the minister, Mr Cook explained that he has timed his departure to coincide with the planned start of tunnelling.

He wrote that his successor will be able to "give their full focus to the future momentum of the project as the railway expands further north and is, as I expect, delivered in full".

He went on: "A project of this scale and ambition will encounter challenges, but it is vital we understand the prize: a low carbon railway for Britain that will make us a better connected and fairer country, bringing careers, jobs and prosperity to the towns and cities that need it most."

On Monday, Anti-HS2 protesters say efforts to evict them from tunnels under a small central London park are "dangerous" as they prepare to spend a sixth night underground.

Environmental campaigners have dug a network of tunnels beneath Euston Square Gardens, next to Euston station, in a bid to protect the green space which they claim will be built over with a temporary taxi rank before being sold to developers as part of plans for the high-speed railway.

A spokesman for HS2 Rebellion, an alliance of groups and individuals campaigning against HS2, said bailiffs were "digging constantly" as part of attempts to remove the activists from the fenced-off site.

HS2 Ltd said it has "legal possession" of the land and urged protesters to leave "for their own safety" before they are removed by High Court enforcement officers.

But John Cooper QC, who is representing the protesters, tweeted on Monday afternoon: "We have just issued Judicial Review and urgent injunction applications on behalf of our clients."