The Government have published their response to the final report from the HS2 Select Committee. Just like they did with the interim report before the 2015 General Election, the Government has decided, instead of responding to all the points made by the Committee, to pick and choose the ones they have responded to, and most of those responses are incredibly disappointing.
Many points are responded to simply by saying they are continuing a dialogue, which falls well short of the action requested by the committee. Others completely fail to address, or deliberately fail to understand the issues being raised. For example, in response to a point made by Jeremy Wright MP about construction traffic, the Government ‘respond’ by quoting the exact state of affairs which Mr Wright was complaining about.
Other promises seem extremely hollow, such as:
“The Promoter will develop further measures that provide additional protection for at risk bat and bird populations during detailed design, wherever reasonably practicable.”
“Other mitigation measures will reduce construction effects such as noise, light and air pollution so far as reasonably practicable, in accordance with the Code of Construction Practice.”
In all, the response uses the phrase “reasonably practicable” ten times.
Sadly, whilst the committee did raise a significant number of salient points, they have failed to order Government and HS2 Ltd to do things, and as such many of their recommendations will be put in a filing cabinet labelled “Got away with it”.
The full response can be found here.