Sir David Higgins to take over as HS2 Ltd chairman

Image of HS2 Birmingham and Fazeley viaduct
Image caption HS2 is set to link London with Birmingham and then Manchester and Leeds

Network Rail chief executive Sir David Higgins is to take over next year as chairman of HS2 Ltd.

HS2 Ltd is the body developing the high-speed railway line between London and Birmingham, before being extended to Manchester and Leeds.

The £50bn project has faced criticism from some business groups that it does not provide value for money.

Australian Sir David takes over from Doug Oakervee, who is standing down at the end of the year.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said the appointment "ensures that we will continue to have leaders at the heart of HS2 who have a track record of delivery".

Sir David is also the former chief executive of the UK's Olympic Delivery Authority.

"This is a very significant appointment by the government," said the BBC's transport correspondent Richard Westcott.

"Sir David Higgins is one of the biggest players in the rail industry, with a reputation for getting things done. It's a statement of intent from the government that they are sticking with the scheme."

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