The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has described the government’s decision to go ahead with high-speed rail link HS2 as a huge relief to the tipper sector but warned it will cause serious disruption to the wider transport and logistics industry.

The work is expected to be completed by 2040 and will link London to Birmingham, and then Manchester and Leeds

However, speaking to, RHA head of technical services Malcolm Dodds said that although the news would ease long-standing uncertainty over the project, which has left vehicles and equipment mothballed, a new concern was the threat to the road transport infrastructure as work on the project is stepped up.

“Any fears HS2 may have been scrapped or deferred have all been put to bed now so people can relax,” Dodds said. “Those that have already invested heavily in new vehicles will be relieved. It would have been very difficult to pass those trucks on with all the costs involved.

“But one of the concerns we have, and operators who are not particularly involved in HS2 have, is the impact that it’s having on local roads and the network, particularly around Birmingham and the Midlands area.

“It needs more careful management because they’ve put road development work in place which is adding to the problem, certainly around Birmingham. So that’s a big concern regarding congestion and the movement of goods. And that’s going to move north eventually.”

Dodds also pointed out that the work would not only involve tippers but abnormal load operators.

“Once it’s been delivered it’ll be there long-term, but in general there are abnormal loads going in there with sizeable bits of kit,” he warned.

Also speaking to, a Keltbray spokesperson said: “The go ahead is great news for the construction industry and gives Keltbray a great opportunity to work with HS2 and the tier 1 contractors on an exciting project.”

However, Dodds said he doubted whether the project would give operators involved in the project a major boost.

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“I don’t know if they’ll make big money, rates are rates,” he said. “Margins aren’t that big for the investment people are having to make.

“Certainly the big operators going in there have invested a lot of money into the project but I imagine the equipment has been mothballed. A lot of these vehicles are leased now. It’s not as if you can just relinquish a lease so some have undoubtedly been parked up. A lot of operators these days do repair and maintenance contracts for leasing vehicles for a set period.”

Dodds said he now expected a raft of new operators to be queuing to sign deals for the work planned for Leeds and Manchester.

“There’s going to be future opportunities for people,” he said. “As it moves north, hopefully new operators nearer to where the construction site is will get the chance to quote and get those jobs as well. So it won’t just be the current ones doing it. You would hope it’s good news for the tipper sector and everyone else involved with it.”

Robert McIlveen, director of public affairs at the Mineral Products Association, said: “It's a big vote of confidence in the UK infrastructure being something you can plan against. It's removed a big dampener.

“It's also a relief that the investments that have happened will start to pay off, albeit a bit later. Now it's about ensuring the contracts are nailed down and signed off.”

McIlveen said that despite the uncertainty over the project it was unlikely that any tipper operators would have struggled to maintain cashflow: “I'm not aware of any companies that have gone under because of the uncertainty,” he said. “It's more the dampening effect on confidence on medium-term business planning.

“The decision to proceed is really important in terms of having the confidence to invest. So for the really big operators it’s been absolutely huge because they’ve been putting millions of pounds into plant they have been underusing because it’s not been running to schedule. It’s such a big project that it shapes the market quite substantially.

“In our sector there are a lot of global companies choosing which companies to invest in. Essentially, if 10 years ago, you made an investment on the basis of HS2, if it's not fulfilled it undermines confidence for future investments in the UK. So it’s good that it's come through and enabled us to say the investments people have made and will be making to supply all the material will be there. One of the things we've been pushing for many years is that you can't just assume everything will be magically delivered. It takes time to get a site up and running and we do need to plan ahead.

“But I think it would have been very odd to scrap it, given the costs, and also the government has just won a load of seats in the Midlands and the North where it will massively improve links. So to scrap it would have been a bit strange.”