HS2 Ltd admit to ignoring public consultation responses from those opposed to HS2

Published 24th July 2012

An article by Joe Rukin

HS2 Ltd have admitted that they ignored 413 of the responses to their public consultation last summer, because 407 were not forwarded to the company doing the work, with others being counted as duplicates when they were not. As shown in Box 21 of the analysis of the responses ( http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/high-speed-rail-addendum/addendum.pdf ), it is no real surprise that only one of the 413 submissions made comments supportive of Government, and that was talking about potential mitigation of the route, not the proposal itself. Individuals missed from the analysis of responses include the MP for the most effected constituency in the country, Kenilworth & Southam MP Jeremy Wright, and Campaign Coordinator for Stop HS2 Joe Rukin.

The list of organisations which were ignored in the consultation analysis includes seven environmental organisations, one of which is The Wildlife Trusts, who like HS2 Action Alliance and Heathrow Hub who were also missed, are currently involved in Judicial Reviews against HS2. Three action groups against HS2 from: Offchurch, The Chiltern Ridges and Wendover were also overlooked. Also missing from the main analysis were The Green Party, The Freshfield Foundation and the New Economics Foundation which have all been highly critical of HS2.

Stop HS2 Campaign Coordinator Joe Rukin said:

“As part of my response to the HS2 consultation, I said that I had little faith in the process, but now it seems that even having little faith was too much. After the Chilterns Conservation Board actually got a rebuttal to their response still during the consultation, we were told that the DfT had identified people and organisations whose responses they wanted to see fast tracked. Now we know they were fact tracked to the recycling bin.”

“We always knew that the consultation would be a farce, especially after Chief Engineer Andrew McNaughton said: ‘The most important thing right now is that we are seen to have had a consultation.’. All they wanted to do was jump through a hoop and tick a box, whilst ignoring the public, but now we know they couldn’t even do that properly, which is just symptomatic of the way HS2 Ltd and the DfT haven’t been able to do one single thing properly now for over two years. Justine Greening said when she was an opposition MP that she found the way the previous Government dealt with the Heathrow Consultation was ‘deeply, deeply concerning’, well this consultation, like the entire case for HS2 is deeper than the Titanic. There is only one way to fulfil the democratic deficit left by the HS2 Consultation, to hold a full and proper public inquiry.”


  • For further enquiries call Joe Rukin on 07811 371880 or Penny Gaines 07765 780553.
  • As part of his response to the HS2 Consultation, Joe Rukin said: “I have little faith in the process which has been adopted during the pre-consultation and consultation periods. I use the word ‘process’ in the loosest possible terms as it is completely transparent that the purpose of this consultation is not to seek facts and opinions without prejudice and formulate a considered response, but instead it is seen by HS2 Ltd and the DfT as a necessary hoop which has to be jumped through. Indeed, at a meeting in May, Chief Engineer Andrew McNaughton explained with his usual candour; “The most important thing right now is that we are seen to have had a consultation.” The same attitude has already been adopted for post-consultation, as we have learned that the tendering process for the next stage will commence in September 2011, before the timetable for the completion of analysing the consultation, which is supposedly meant to help inform the Secretary of State prior to him officially making the decision whether to proceed or not. It is clear to me that this project, supposedly the largest single civil engineering project the country will ever have seen, should have a full-scale independent public inquiry. However that would mean doing things properly, opposed to what is the clear goal of doing it quickly.”
  • The additional analysis of missed HS2 Consultation responses can be found here; http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/high-speed-rail-addendum/addendum.pdf
  • Other recent Stop HS2 press releases can be found at http://stophs2.org/category/press
  • The link to join the Stop HS2 mailing list is http://stophs2.org/mailing-list/216-join-our-e-mail-list
  • There was a total of 55,322 responses to the HS2 Consultation.

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