"The size and scale of HS2 is massive, it's multiple mega-projects rolled into one and the most ambitious programme of new railway construction since the Victorian era. In fact, it is the first new railway built north of London for over 100 years," said Mark.
"Although a lot has changed since we first started in 2009, the fundamental challenges we face have not. We need more capacity on our railways, we need to reduce our carbon emissions and we need to better connect our regional cities.
"HS2 is a fundamental part of the UK becoming a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. Transport recently overtook energy as the country's largest emitter, meaning getting more cars and lorries off the road and more people onto cleaner, greener rail is critical.
"HS2 will run off zero-carbon electricity from day one of operations and the capacity it frees up on the existing rail network, by putting inter-city trains onto their own pair of tracks, can be used to run more local, commuter and freight services," he continued.
Universities are key to sustainable construction.
Mark, who has been CEO of HS2 since 2017, received an honorary doctorate in technology from UEL in 2019.
"As someone who started their career as an apprentice and didn't pursue a typically 'academic' route in my field, it was a huge privilege to be awarded an honorary doctorate of technology from UEL," said Mark.
"I felt very humbled to accept such recognition and I've had great pleasure in continuing my relationship with the University over the years."