Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about this research study. If your question is not answered here, you can send us a message via the form on our contact page.

  • Identify positive or negative mental health and wellbeing impacts of the High-Speed 2 rail development;
  • Determine if impacts change over time and what drives them;
  • Investigate whether mental health and wellbeing impacts are experienced differently across population groups or affect health inequalities or social inclusion.

In July 2019 High Speed 2 Ltd was directed by the Phase 2a Select Committee to commission an ongoing epidemiological[1] report to understand any potential positive or negative mental health and wellbeing impacts arising from the HS2 scheme.

The purpose of the research is to provide the Phase 2b Select Committee with a clearer overview of these potential impacts and to inform the development of major infrastructure projects in the future.

The main geographical scope for the study will be the Phase 2a and Phase 2b route.

[1]  a branch of medical science that deals with the incidence, distribution, and control of disease

The total research costs (up to £2 million) for this project are being funded by the Department for Transport and High Speed 2 Ltd. The research was commissioned in a competitive process via the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Public Health Research (PHR) Programme.

The remit of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. In response to the request in the House of Commons Select Committee Second Special Report of the 2017-19 session (para 125-134), NIHR are working closely with High Speed 2 Ltd (HS2 Ltd) to support the commissioning of research to assess the potential positive and negative mental health and wellbeing impacts of the HS2 development.  The research project has been commissioned through the NIHR Public Health Research Programme.

HS2 Ltd have sought the expertise of NIHR to ensure that the study is entirely independent and impartial. HS2 Ltd have been involved in the design of the scope to ensure it fulfils the ask of the Select Committee but now the study has commenced HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport will be advised through NIHR on progress and will not seek to influence the outcomes of the study.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Public Health Research (PHR) Programme is hosted by the Wessex Institute, University of Southampton. The NIHR is funded by and reports to the Department of Health and Social Care.

For the purposes of commissioning this study, the University of Southampton worked with High Speed 2 Ltd (HS2 Ltd) to commission a study through the NIHR PHR programme. A research contract has been issued between HS2 Ltd and RAND Europe, representing the Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research (CCHSR; a partnership between RAND Europe and the University of Cambridge), the successful host organisation who will deliver the study. NIHR will monitor CCHSR’s progress with the research.

The study will be monitored in line with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) standard contracting and monitoring processes to ensure delivery against the objectives.

The overall study has been pre-registered, meaning that the aims of the research and the methods used to achieve those aims has been specified in advance (ISRCTN58916738). Due to the large-scale nature of the project, we will also publish more detailed protocols for different components of the research as it progresses.

The research team has committed to the publication of at least four papers in academic journals that will be Open Access (i.e. available to anyone) that will describe the design of the study and report the key research results after each of the three waves of data collection. In order to provide an important and permanent archive of research, a full and comprehensive account of the study findings will also be published in the open access NIHR journal at the end of the study in order to comply with the NIHR guidance on research outputs and publications guidance.

As with standard NIHR research projects, the study has an independent Study Steering Committee which regularly reviews the research. The study also has a Public Advisory Group, led by a Public and Patient Involvement Lead and a Lay Advisor, which reviews all key aspects of the study design, implementation and interpretation.

The involvement of High Speed 2 Ltd (HS2 Ltd) will not influence the study. Involvement of HS2 Ltd is to ensure that the study continues to respond to the ask of the Phase 2a Select Committee only.

The findings from this study will be published in peer-reviewed Open Access journals regardless of whether they show positive or negative impacts on mental health and wellbeing. The research findings will also be shared with the Department for Transport to be used to inform the development of major infrastructure projects in the future.

If you have any questions relating to the planning or construction of High Speed 2 please contact the HS2 Helpdesk.

The HS2 Helpdesk remains operational all day, every day, and should be the first point of contact for advice or information from HS2. Contact details for the Helpdesk: