Published 24th July 2012
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.
“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.”