Multidisciplinary consultancy firm Wardell Armstrong welcomed HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston to its Stoke-on-Trent head office as early stage work on the high-speed railway continues.
The company has more than 100 staff working on HS2 after winning a series of contracts on the huge rail project.
And earlier this week, the firm updated the HS2 boss on the progress of the scheme and outlined its involvement with the project.
Wardell Armstrong secured the contract with HS2’s first environmental works contractor, Balfour Beatty, in September 2020, building on the pipeline of work the company has delivered on the first two phases of HS2 – from London to the West Midlands and Crewe – since 2018.
Mr Thurston’s visit came a day before Transport Secretary Grant Shapps unveiled the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) which includes “downgraded” plans for the HS2 phase 2b ‘eastern leg‘ – between Birmingham and Yorkshire.
The drastically changed plans mean the eastern leg will now only go as far as East Midlands Parkway station in Nottinghamshire.
During his visit to Wardell Armstrong, Mr Thurston said: “Work has now begun to prepare the ground between the West Midlands and Crewe to allow the construction of the next phase of HS2.
“It is fantastic that Wardell Armstrong, a local business and one of some 80 in Staffordshire, is on board with HS2 to provide its expertise as we begin the early stages of work on the project.
“As momentum builds on our programme for the section between the West Midlands and Crewe, there will be thousands of contract opportunities for local businesses to become part of this exciting national endeavour and get involved in this once-in-a-generation mega project.”
Wardell Armstrong’s repeated success in winning work on the HS2 project has enabled the firm to expand its workforce.
The business now has 13 offices across the UK and has been able to expand its workforce to in excess of 500.
The company says more than 100 people are working on HS2, with staff in its ecology, archaeology, heritage, hydrogeology, health and safety and engineering teams all supporting the delivery of the new high-speed railway.
The Stoke-on-Trent BusinessLive Awards in association with The Sentinel and Stoke-on-Trent Live 2022 are back and open for entries.
Businesses and individuals from across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire are being encouraged to enter across 14 categories including the coveted Business of the Year award.
You can find more information about all of the categories here.
The deadline for entries is Monday, January 10 and the ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 28.
Wardell Armstrong’s managing director, Keith Mitchell, said: “Being involved in HS2 has given us an excellent opportunity to expand and develop our team in Stoke-on-Trent and nationally.
“We provide specialist environmental and engineering support along the length of the route, working with the HS2 team and their contractors to mitigate environmental impact and enhance biodiversity.
“The project has helped us to significantly innovate and grow our business and create employment in the Staffordshire region and the wider UK.”
Sara Williams, chief executive of the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, added: “HS2 is an amazing opportunity for businesses in Staffordshire – and beyond – to work together to deliver something that will last generations, transform economies and help with the levelling up agenda.
“We have found HS2 an excellent partner, keen to make a positive difference through their investment and provide a legacy for the future.”