You may notice the question mark. That is because, still, none of those directly affected or indeed anyone other than within the Mr Hammond’s inner circle of trust knows for sure.
What do we know?
We know that on Monday 28th February there is an event in Birmingham called “Investing in Britain’s future – High Speed Rail” click on the blue words for the website.
The website has been published by the Department of Transport and details the event as
“High Speed Rail Consultation – Investing in Britain’s Future Monday 28 February – Central Birmingham 08.30 (for 0900) to 13.45”
1) The emails subsequently received from the DOT do not include the words “National” or “Consultation” whatsoever – this is supposed to be a National Consultation
2) No venue details are provided
3) The phrase “Investing in Britain’s Future” is a leading statement not conducive to an objective consultation
4) Many of us applied successfully to attend via the website only to receive emails such as this one yesterday. You will note no address or contact details and they were no reply email addresses supplied:- no-reply@live-events .coi.gov.uk.
“Dear Mrs Williams
Thank you for your interest in this event. It is invitation only, so it has not been possible to register you for a place as you do not appear on the list of invitees. However, there will be a series of open events for the public in and between London and Birmingham, details of which will be made available shortly. You will be welcome to attend any of these
Department for Transport
High Speed Rail team.”
Here is what we were sent previously
Reply |COI Live Events to me
show details 23 Feb (2 days ago)
Thank you for registering. We will send confirmations and joining instructions shortly.
Reference Number is: 000003HS2-50”
So to be consulted on a National Consultation you need an invitation? Even more astounding than that Richard Hebditch, Campaign Director for Campaign for Better Transport was due to speak at this event. I have just spoken to their office who have confirmed that approximately one hour after they issued this press release Richard received an email from the DOT saying they had changed their minds and he was no longer required to speak.
Phillip Hammond announced plans for the consultation on 20 December click here.
STOP HS2 believes the National Consultation on HS2 is being deliberately hidden from the public whilst business is getting a full scale propaganda campaign across the country.
It is outrageous that the Government continues to ignore its own Code of Practice on Consultation.
We also believe that without HS2, the Coalition Government does not have a sufficient growth plan for the country and business would rather have HS2 than nothing, regardless of the vast costs outweighing the benefits and it being completely unsustainable.
We still do not know the exact remit for the consultation but what is clear is that most of the country will be completely unaware they are being asked to comment on a project which will waste a minimum of £33 billion with NO BUSINESS CASE, NO ENVIRONMENTAL CASE to support it and when the country can least afford it.
Chairman STOP HS2
You may also be interested in seeing this response from HS2 Enquiries about how the consultation documentation will be distributed across the UK. Please note the date! Seven days before the announcement and they are still considering how to distribute the information.
From: HS2Enquiries <HS2Enquiries@HS2.gsi.gov.uk>
Date: 21 February 2011 14:12:06 GMT
To: Roger Waller <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: HS2 Enquiry Consultation document
Dear Mr Waller,
Thank you for your email.
Documents will be available online, as will a DVD and hard copies on request. We encourage people, where possible, to view documents online or on the DVD and print only the sections that they need.
There are no plans to specifically distribute copies to actions groups but we are currently considering how best to ensure that the documents are accessible, including distribution along the route to councils and libraries.
With kind regards
On Behalf of the High Speed Enquiry Team
T: 020 7944 4908
High Speed Two (HS2) Limited, registered in England. Registered number 06791686. Registered office 55 Victoria St, London, SW1H 0EU
From: Roger Waller [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 26 January 2011 21:02
Subject: Consultation document
I understand that despite your being willing and able to spend billions of pounds on this rail project, you are financially constrained in the production of hard copies of the consultation document.
This is ridiculous,every public library that is still open should be in receipt of a copy along with every Parish Council to ensure local involvement.
I also think every action group should be sent one, however, if you are unable to do this because of the parlous state of your finances,then would you be able to sell them to the action groups involved. After all, “we are all in this together”
I await your answer and should you concur then I should be able to supply you with contact details for the Action Group Chairs.