The chairman of the High Speed 2 rail project has reportedly warned that its cost could rise by £30bn.
HS2 chairman Allan Cook has written to the Department for Transport to say the high-speed line cannot be delivered within its £56bn budget, according to the Financial Times.
The DfT said a review of HS2’s costs is continuing.
The line will connect London, the Midlands and northern England using trains capable of travelling at 250mph.
“The chairman of HS2 Ltd is conducting detailed work into of the costs and schedule of the project to ensure it delivers benefits to passengers, the economy and represents value for money for the taxpayer,” the DfT said in a statement.
“This work is ongoing. We expect Allan Cook to provide his final assessment in due course.”
The first segment of the project between London and Birmingham is due to open at the end of 2026, with the second phase to Leeds and Manchester expected to be completed by 2032-33.
An HS2 spokesperson said: “We don’t comment on leaks or speculation.
“We have previously noted that our chair, as you would expect, continues to scrutinise the programme, and regularly reports back to the Department [for Transport].
“We are determined to deliver a railway that rebalances the economy, creates jobs, boosts economic growth and is value for money for taxpayers.”
Mr Cook was appointed to head HS2 in December 2018 after his predecessor, Sir Terry Morgan, resigned as chairman because of delays at the Crossrail project in London which he was also leading.