Book review

by D R Myddelton

THE CHANNEL Tunnel is included in the six UK 'government project disasters' of the last 85 years analysed in this book, despite the then government's insistence on the tunnel being a private venture. It is treated as a single project with CTRL, where opaque financial structures make it difficult to pin down the public contribution.

The problems of leadership and contractual structures during construction are briefly set out, along with comments on the failure to predict market changes including the low-cost airlines, and the lack of consideration of economic aspects of safety specifications.

Other projects considered are airship construction, the infamous 1940s groundnut scheme, nuclear power, the Concorde aircraft and the millennium celebrations in 2000. Myddelton is critical of the use of taxpayers' money when the private sector is unwilling to take risks, calling for better market research and political willingness to terminate projects if costs grow.

£12·50 from the Institute of Economic Affairs, 2 Lord North Street, ?London SW1P 3LB, UK

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