Stop HS2 submission to the Oakervee review of HS2, compiled by Joe Rukin & Penny Gaines.
This document is set out as a response to the review terms of reference, which appear in bold.
For the whole HS2 project, the review should rigorously examine and state its view on:
• whether HS2 Ltd is in a position to deliver the project effectively, taking account of its performance to date and any other relevant information
HS2 Ltd is not now and never has been in a position to deliver HS2 effectively. Many of the justifications for HS2 were invented with a complete lack of any independently sourced evidential basis, after the project was adopted by Government. This has nurtured a bunker mentality and complete institutional intransigence within HS2 Ltd, leading to a complete unfamiliarity with the truth and a far too close relationship with many suppliers and other parties which would directly financially benefit from the project and the associated developments around stations sites. With all this in mind, and set against a background of a standard operating policy to completely deny self-evident budget over-runs, delays to the project, cut-backs on project scope and any and all other set-backs and problems, it is hard to believe that the effective and efficient delivery of HS2 has ever truly been the aim of HS2 Ltd.
Additionally, HS2 has been afforded a ‘golden child’ status whereby both government and opposition politicians have on a cyclical basis dismissed (and in many cases hidden) any and all of the statutory scrutiny and well-founded criticisms of the project and its management from independent sources. Employees of HS2 Ltd who have wished to raise concerns about the project have been summarily dismissed or have reportedly been paid for their silence, seemingly as standard practice. This has led to an attitude within HS2 Ltd that the organisation can do no wrong and will be allowed to get away with anything.
Quite simply, HS2 Ltd is a rogue organisation at the heart of Government.
Every independent body that has looked at HS2 over the years has concluded that it is an absolute mess. One of the many examples is the fact that HS2 has had a constant rating of amber/red from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) for seven years, with a number of unpublished, redacted and secret reports that go further than that. This makes HS2 consistently the worst project on the Government books, yet responses to such ratings from Government and HS2 Ltd follow the same pattern: dismissing them as out-of-date; insisting that all of the problems raised have been addressed, despite the fact they regularly will appear in subsequent reports; and more recently the response has been to effectively say such reviews are pointless and that such things must be expected for a project of this size and complexity. In the case of one study which concluded that HS2 would already be considered to be failed by any internationally recognised measure of success, the report was cancelled prior to completion and buried, meaning that when the findings were leaked, the whole thing was dismissed as an incomplete and ‘not an official report’.
Against this background, there has been routine public denial of anything going wrong up until September 2019, with a standard mantra that HS2 was ‘on time and on budget’ being used no matter what the evidence to the contrary, all of which has fed into the culture within the organisation that they can do no wrong whatsoever. Even as recently as July, Nusrat Ghani MP was willing go on the record to tell the House of Commons that there is only one budget for HS2, and this is £55.7bn.
The roots of the problem with HS2 and HS2 Ltd can be traced back all the way to the Eddington report in 2006. Eddington concluded that transport projects should be assessed and prioritised on the basis of need, going on to lament that there was never an assessment of what was best for Britain’s transport infrastructure that concluded high speed rail was the answer, more that the HS2 project had gathered momentum for one reason only: strong lobbying from advocates. The development of HS2 tore up the ‘Kent Principles’ used for HS1, which if used would have delivered a far more acceptable railway that could have been delivered in a more modular fashion, at lower costs to both build, run and maintain, delivering benefits to the areas it would go through, with the potential for genuine environmental benefits.
This initial entryism presented a mythical cost which had no basis in reality, but was at a level acceptable to ministers at the time. Other figures were subject to manipulation for the purposes of entryism, such as the passenger forecast which not only demonstrated a supposed ‘need’ for HS2, but was also essential to present a positive business case. Consistently across the world, high speed rail projects fail to live up to the grossly inflated passenger forecasts used to justify their construction, while the costs are grossly under-estimated. All of these figures combine to present an overly-optimistic business case, which has serious repercussions not just for the viability of the project, but will influence spending decisions on the rail network for generations to come. Not only do grossly underestimated costs and over-optimistic passenger forecasts and construction timescales have the potential to monopolise transport infrastructure spending for decades to come, but they insist that HS2 would run at an operating profit. This is highly unlikely. It is widely accepted that only two high speed railways in the world operate at a surplus, and for HS2 to do so, not only would it have to achieve the ridiculously optimistic passenger forecasts, but it would also have to somehow attain operating and maintenance costs significantly lower than one would normally expect for a railway operating at the proposed speeds. There is also no example anywhere in the world of a wheel and rail railway which runs trains anywhere near to the frequency and speeds HS2 Ltd are suggesting will be standard. The highly likely implications of HS2 running at a loss do not appear to have been considered by Government.
We cannot over-emphasise how much what has clearly been a far too cosy relationship between HS2 Ltd and those aiming to profit from the project, has impacted on the viability and delivery of the scheme. After HS2 was adopted following heavy lobbying and massive PR budgets from those with clear vested interests, the most obvious recent examples being Northern Powerhouse Partnership and the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group, has helped keep it there. Whilst that has been seen in the open, far more insidious is the revolving door employment policies which see construction industry secondees embedded within HS2 Ltd, staff seeming to move on a merry-go-round between HS2 Ltd, construction firms and consultancies involved with the project.
Stop HS2 have long been concerned that what has happened within HS2 Ltd is fraud under the provisions of the 2006 Fraud Act. The arguments and actions that got HS2 on the books and have kept it there since have misrepresented the facts, presented false pictures and abused positions of trust – all three tests of the 2006 Fraud Act. One of many examples of this is the BBC Panorama broadcast ten months ago, in which HS2 Ltd CEO Mark Thurston said he wasn’t worried about overspending, he was confident HS2 Ltd could stand by the budget, and he categorically stated that “No, we are not over-budget.”
By August the ‘Stocktake’ document by the current Chair of HS2 Ltd showed that HS2 was expected to cost another £20-30 billion. It is beyond all realms of credibility to imagine that this happened overnight, people knew and they chose not to say anything. We now know that Patrick McLoughlin and George Osborne, and surely their successors, knew HS2 could not be delivered on budget on time or on scope before the project got Royal Assent, but chose not to mention that to parliament. George Osborne went on to set up NPP, which seems to spend most of its time lobbying for HS2 to be built, with rather spurious justifications.
The progression of HS2 is not simply a case of the Government misleading the public, this is also a case of the Government and the civil service misleading both the House of Commons and the House of Lords as well as probably breaking the law. We are absolutely convinced that these issues are not going to go away, it is now too big to brush under the carpet, and we’re seeing that despite efforts to pay them off, the whistle-blowers are slowly coming forward. Simply, if HS2 continues it will become the scandal that keeps on giving for years to come.
The full range of benefits from the project, including but not limited to:
• capacity changes both for services to cities and towns on HS2 and which will not be on HS2
• economic transformation including whether the scheme will promote inclusive growth and regional rebalancing
• environmental benefits, in particular for carbon reduction in line with net zero commitments
• the risk of delivery of these and other benefits, and whether there are alternative strategic transport schemes which could achieve comparable benefits in similar timescales
In line with the entryism that saw lobbyists presenting ‘acceptable’ figures to show HS2 in a favourable light, the benefits of HS2 have been consistently overstated. Almost every single piece of evidence to support the supposed need for HS2 has been made up, with benefits similarly being invented in an attempt to retrofit reasoning for building the project, after the decision to adopt it had already been made. In that respect, many of the standard soundbites supporting the project, and indeed submissions to this review heavily rely on fact-free emotive phrases like “essential”, “transformational benefits”, “game changer”, “once in a generation opportunity” and the like. Now, with the project in trouble it is being suggested that more benefits should be invented, with proponents seemingly trying to claim that all developments currently being planned and undertaken anywhere near HS2 station sites are due to HS2. Another suggestion is that economic benefits should be projected out for 120 years, which is as ludicrous a concept as suggesting as it would have been possible to predict the way we live and work today, back when Queen Victoria was still on the throne.
The stocktake document goes further, claiming that a new methodology for assessing benefits is needed and that HS2 Ltd should develop it. The point of any Government analysis of economic or business cases is to see whether a particular project is a sensible way of spending taxpayer money: it is not to get some magic number which makes the project pass an arbitrary test. The proposal now being put forward is not that HS2 should mark their own homework as has happened in the past, but they should develop their own methodology, basically they would be setting their own homework. There is no suggestion that the new analysis could be used by other projects, just by HS2 Ltd, then HS2 Ltd would see whether HS2 passes the test. This simply cannot happen.
One of the initial supposed benefits of HS2 was that it would take flights out of the air, by connecting major cities, Heathrow and the Channel Tunnel. Whilst the later two links have long since been dropped, without any reduction in the proposed cost of the scheme, and the modal shift from air to HS2 projections have dropped to just 1% of projected passenger numbers, some politicians and advocates are still willing to say HS2 would take flights out of the air without any evidential basis. Indeed, this is clearly counterfactual, and easily demonstrated by the fact that it would make airports more accessible, with Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds-Bradford and East Midlands airports all lobbying for the project.
When looking at supposed capacity benefits one has to consider that this has always been disingenuous, because it tries to suggest that notionally creating space for more trains would actually equate the provision of more trains. This has never been the case. There has always been a requirement in the HS2 business case for cuts to existing services or ‘classic line savings’, which in the latest published business plan stand at £11.1bn. By definition, this is what freeing up capacity means, losing the trains you already have and potentially losing connectivity too for town and cities not on the HS2 route. When HS2 was first announced, it was shown in official documents that Coventry would lose 2 of the 3 fast services to London it currently enjoys, which led to the City Council voting to oppose HS2 within a matter of weeks. Since then, HS2 Ltd and proponents of the project have learned from this lesson, and are less forthcoming about where such cuts would fall.
The supposed benefits of cancelling a handful of trains are now being grossly overstated and are simply not credible. For example, continuing their policy of Government lobbying Government, the Midlands Connect submission to this review seems to claim that ‘144-freight-trains-a-day, plus more-stopping-trains-between-Birmingham-and-Coventry, plus more-long-distance-trains-between-Birmingham-and-Oxford-via-Coventry-and-Kenilworth’, can all apparently be achieved by the Coventry scenario above, removing just one or two hourly fast trains from New-Street-to-Euston.
In a similar vein, absolutely ridiculous statements are now coming out of HS2 Ltd, with the Stocktake report from Allan Cook claiming that each HS2 train would free up capacity for 11 extra trains on the existing network. It is unbelievable that the new chairman has been put in a position whereby he is now responsible for such a ridiculous claim. This is a perfect example of the fact that HS2 Ltd is a shamelessly rogue organisation, with people who feel that they can simply make absolutely anything up, and get it out in the public domain by getting the chairman to put his name to it. This claim is fundamentally wrong, as is the claim now being made in slick promotion videos that if you take some of the fast trains off the WCML, this somehow normalises speeds between different services which would significantly increase capacity both for passenger trains and freight. This completely ignores the fact that the speed of ‘semi-fast’ commuter services in most cases is much closer to that of express trains than freight ones, meaning this concept would actually worsen passenger services on much of the railway, having a similar effect on the speed of passenger rail services as allowing lorries to go in the fast lane of motorways would on cars.
In terms of the capacity to be expected via HS2 itself, the project delivers capacity where it is needed the least, decades in the future at the maximum cost with the minimum flexibility and connectivity. It is also significantly doubtful that HS2 could ever carry the number of trains being suggested at the proposed operating speeds.
In terms of the supposed transformational benefit of HS2, every single piece of international evidence shows that high speed rail projects drag more economic activity to the dominant economic centre, and with London being so primate in the UK, and of course this concept that Old Oak Common is intended to become the ‘New Canary Wharf’, that effect is likely to be worse here. All we have to do is look at the effect of our own hub and spoke system on roads and rail, or even HS1 where the idea of major economic regeneration for Ebbsfleet was abandoned a couple of years ago with George Osborne announcing a plan to build a garden city, or in other words another London dormitory commuter town.
The economic regeneration that HS2 might bring would at best see some developments and property price increases around station sites, which is why there has been heavy lobbying from those who would benefit directly from that, but these impacts would come at the expense of the wider region, as they have around Lille. This is why there are a small number of advocates with deep pockets insisting without any evidence whatsoever that HS2 would do exactly the opposite of what all comparable projects across the world have done.
HS2 will not help meet the net zero commitments, as it will actually cause increased carbon emissions. HS2 Ltd’s own projections show HS2 will not be carbon-neutral for at least 120 years. It has not been designed to get people out of cars or planes, with modal shift figures of 4% and 1% respectively: the majority of passengers would otherwise have travelled on conventional speed trains, and according to HS2 Ltd projections approximately a quarter of passengers are expected to travel simply because HS2 has been built. HS2 is designed to encourage more travel at a time when we have not only the means and the need to reduce travel for work, but it is increasingly become the business imperative.
The carbon case for HS2 also depends on decarbonising the electricity grid, but any reductions in emissions would also apply to any other form of transport that uses electricity, such as intercity trains running on electrified tracks. Electrifying the entirety of the train network will reduce the carbon emissions of all other trains, yet HS2 Ltd seem to be suggesting we would be using diesel trains into the next century.
HS2’s figures for emissions are considerably more hopeful than any European high speed rail. The current best is France, which has a heavy usage of nuclear energy. However one of the current best routes – the Eurostar from Paris to London is still 18 gCO2e/pkm – and other European high speed routes have nearly double that (e.g. Frankfurt-Amsterdam is 33.6 gCO2e/pkm). The expected equivalent for “the entire classic network, including the predicted mix of both diesel and electric trains in 2030” is 22 gCO2e/pkm, according to HS2’s own documents. Even in France high speed routes have emissions outputs of 15-33gco2e/p/km and that is a network which almost exclusively runs on zero carbon are nuclear power. Simply, the carbon case that HS2 Ltd have put forward has been fiddled down in the same way the business case was fiddled up, by coming out with a grossly inflated passenger forecast and basing the measurement on CO2 output per passenger kilometre.
HS2 is an has always been an environmental disaster as far as the natural world is concerned, with constant attempts being made to belittle the actual impact and inflate proposed mitigations. The land take will be greater than any single motorway ever built in the UK, due to the fact that HS2 abandoned the Kent Principles and was designed for 250mph. Whilst the proposed width has came down slightly, but has more recently absent from official documents, the original technical specifications proposed a standard external fence-to-fence width where HS2 would be 75 metres on flat land, due to the speed of the project. Impacts have been spun out of all control, with impacts on ancient woodland in areas with very little cover belittled, and voodoo practices such as translocation of soils passed off as scientifically proven. Numbers have been made up for replacement woodland which ignore the fact that under standard planting practices only about one in twenty trees will live to maturity, and those are the ones which were not left to die in the summer of 2018. Whilst HS1 created a genuine wildlife corridor in the dead land between the railway and the M2 and M20, HS2 Ltd feel justified in using the phrase ‘wildlife corridor’ for small levels of habitat isolated creation away from the route, and seem to think it is reasonable to include land that will be returned to a worse condition after construction than it is now as ‘habitat creation’.
In terms of delivering the supposed benefits of HS2 quickly, it depends what purpose HS2 is meant to serve.
If HS2 is all about capacity, projects like: addressing the pinch points highlighted in the RP2 and its optimised alternative; scraping voyagers on cross country routes for longer trains; adopting different train configurations; removing some of the restrictions of the franchising system and changing timetables; rolling out in-cab signalling, which will have to happen eventually; recommitting to cancelled electrification projects and reopening several old routes are all examples of things which can be done quickly, and deliver more benefits to more people more quickly with pretty much zero environmental damage.
If HS2 is about jobs and rebalancing the economy, then the very last thing which should be attempted is another project that makes it easier to get to London. If the Midlands and North needs an economic stimulus, then money should be spent there, mainly on smaller local infrastructure projects which would benefit the vast majority of urban and inter-urban rail users. Developments around the land cleared at HS2 station sites can still go ahead, but only with adequate commitment to public spaces and social housing. At Old Oak Common, it would most likely be sensible to still go ahead with the Crossrail Station, but developments surrounding North Acton Tube over recent years suggest this may not be essential. Most importantly, transport projects should be sustainable and as the economy moves forward, more effort must be put in to reducing the need for travel. HS2 is quite frankly a nineteenth century solution in a twenty-first century world, and more investment must be put into broadband.
The jobs figures for HS2 are simply not credible. If you were to add up all the predictions that are currently being made about HS2 and jobs, then if it were ready today it would eradicate unemployment. This is possibly one of the best examples of proponents being willing to make any old rubbish up to support the project. Apart from jobs in stations and on running the railway, transport systems may influence the location of jobs, but they do not create them. There is a significant risk that HS2 could actually be a disbenefit to the economy, because you may well end up with firms choosing to relocate around reasonably affluent and job-rich areas around HS2 stations, instead of the more deprived towns that actually need those jobs, towns and cities that may well end up with worse rail connectivity as a result of HS2.
The full range of costs of the project, including but not limited to:
• whether HS2 Ltd’s latest estimates of costs and schedule are realistic and are comparable to other UK infrastructure
• why any cost estimates or schedules have changed since the most recent previous baselines
• whether there are opportunities for efficiencies
• the cost of disruption to rail users during construction
• whether there are trade-offs between cost and schedule; and whether there are opportunities for additional commercial returns for the taxpayer through, for example, developments around stations, to offset costs
• what proceeding with Phase 1 means in terms of overall affordability, and what this means in terms of what would be required to deliver the project within the current funding envelope for the project as a whole
The first thing to mention here is that HS2 Ltd have never looked at the full range of costs of the project. There are so many missing and off the books costs, such as how it plumbs into the existing rail system and like where the electricity is coming from, both in terms of generation and transmission. As previously mentioned, the HS2 business case not only calls for a cut in existing services which may not be possible and is certainly the opposite of what is being promised, but also projects that the project would run at a profit, which seems highly unlikely given the suspect passenger forecasts and higher than usual running costs.
The concept that the current forecast for costs and timescales are anywhere near accurate is laughable. There are multiple reasons for this, but the main one is the institutional intransigence of HS2 Ltd. A perfect example would be the Thornton Affair, whereby an employee who wished to inform the non-executive board that the land purchase costs were grossly underestimated was sacked. Given the number of HS2 Ltd staff who seem to be in receipt of gagging payments, it is clear that this sort of practice, where rising costs were simply hidden to try and get HS2 through Review Point One will be found throughout the organisation. A final more recent example of this attitude is that no bidder seemed interested in either the Curzon St or railway systems contracts, with the answer from HS2 Ltd now seeming to be that they will pick a supplier and then work out he costs between them afterwards. This is simply unacceptable.
This all smacks of an attitude whereby the organisation did not want to know about bad news of any type whatsoever. A perfect example which is currently coming home to roost are the ground conditions along the route. Because management did not want designs and costs of HS2 to be fully informed during the petitioning process, ground surveys were not conducted before a the HS2 bill became and act. However, for some unknown reason, surveys where not immediately undertaken and remain incomplete, with it being questionable as to whether it is actually possible to build certain parts of HS2, such as the Chiltern Tunnel through compacted chalk and the route through the Cheshire Brine Fields.
Whilst disruption to rail users during construction will be severe, disruption to road users and businesses, which will be as bad if not worse, has never once been considered or calculated. Looking at the area around Birmingham Interchange – which is on the wrong side of the M42 with the method of connecting to Birmingham International being another one of those off the books cost – in the space of around two miles, HS2 has to cross the M6, M42, A45 and A452, with a station and ancillary roads being built. The phrase that best sums up this uncosted impact is ‘years of traffic chaos’. This is just one example of many. Additionally, whilst road closures and the location of compounds during construction formed part of the ES consultation, road closures are occurring and compounds springing up right now which were never part of the consultation. The excuse being put forward by HS2 Ltd is that people were consulted on construction works, but these are enabling works, so it’s fine that no-one was informed about the impacts. During the ES consultation, we added together all the proposed lorry movements HS2 Ltd predicted, and industry experts concluded there were simply not enough tipper trucks in existence in the UK to cope with the projected workload, and that was before it was discovered that much of the spoil will not be suitable for infilling.
Proceeding with the project because there is an opportunity for developments around stations would be a crass waste of money. The fact of the matter is that the developments around the stations can now happen on the land cleared around the station sites, without the expense of building HS2. Along the same lines, it is now clear that proceeding with phase one, if it is indeed viable would cost more than the projected budget for the whole scheme, and this is an unjustifiable outlay simply to provide more commuter capacity for Milton Keynes.
• whether the assumptions behind the business case, for instance on passenger numbers and train frequencies, are realistic, including the location and interconnectivity of the stations with other transport systems, and the implications of potential changes in services to cities and towns which are on the existing main lines but will not be on HS2
This question has already been covered in this submission. Nothing in the HS2 business case is realistic, and the clear plan for cities not on the main HS2 route is to leave them behind.
• for the project as a whole, how much realistic potential there is for cost reductions in the scheme as currently planned through changes to its scope, planned phasing or specification, including but not limited to:
• reductions in speed
• making Old Oak Common the London terminus, at least for a period
• building only Phase 1
• combining Phases 1 and 2a
• different choices or phasing of Phase 2b, taking account of the interfaces with Northern Powerhouse Rail
The Allan Cook Stocktake document shows that not only are savings impossible, but that even meeting the £55.7bn budget is impossible.
There have already been two significant attempts to find major savings, both of which failed. These were when Sir David Higgins was first appointed chair, and then later with Sir Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary. In fact, Higgins came into HS2 with a fanfare that he as going to cut costs, but the reality was that the project was both severely descoped during his time and costs went up. Rather than working out which part of HS2 to build, the whole project should be scrapped.
Attempting to make savings by reducing the speed but keeping to the same route makes no sense, because everything about the project and the route has been determined entirely based on the expected speed of 250mph.
The original business case was almost entirely based on speed. There are no stations between London and Birmingham, because it would slow the train down too much. This means there was no possibility for an interchange station near Bicester with the East-West railway from Oxford to Cambridge (or the proposed express route), there was no possibility for a connection to the Chilterns Line at Aylesbury Vale Parkway and the same is true where HS2 crosses the Leamington to Coventry line.
Whilst slowing the design speed would have an effect on tunnel bores which could reduce an element of costs, it is difficult to see how much else could be saved, unless the entire route of the project were to be revisited, and a project like HSUK or something similar which followed the Kent Principles were adopted. It is certain that given that all of the routing options were dictated by the original speed, that there would be a lot of anger if the speed were reduced, but the current route retained, especially as a lower speed would mean the flexibility to bend HS2 around sensitive ecological sites and communities.
With respect to making Old Oak Common the London terminus, The New Civil Engineer reports Transport for London as saying that capacity on Crossrail would be exceeded at the morning peak if this were the case. It is also not certain how and where trains waiting to turn around would be housed, unless there were to be a significantly reduced service or an increase in the number of proposed platforms.
The bottom line is whatever phase of HS2 you are looking at, mile-for-mile it would stand to be the most expensive railway in the history of the world. This is the issue which must be addressed.
• the direct cost of reprioritising, cancelling or de-scoping the project, including but not limited to: contractual penalties; the risk of legal action; sunk costs; remediation costs; supply chain impact; and an estimate of how much of the money already spent, for instance on the purchase of land and property, could be recouped
If there were to be any costs as a result of cancellation from contracts that relate to construction, given that scheme does not have Notice to Proceed, then someone should be going to jail. Land and property costs – where HS2 Ltd has actually paid for land and property – can be recovered. Compensation for loss of earnings will have to be paid whether the scheme goes ahead or not. Given that developments around the station sites – with an appropriate allocation of open spaces and social housing for communities – could be built without the expense of building HS2, the costs spent so far could mostly be recovered.
The idea of potentially going ahead with HS2 because something equating to between 5-10% of the final end cost has already been wasted would be a gross misuse of public funds.
• whether and how the project could be reprioritised; in particular, whether and, if so how, Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) (including the common sections with HS2 Phase 2b) could be prioritised over delivering the southern sections of HS2
• whether any improvements would benefit the integration of HS2, NPR and other rail projects in the north of England or Midlands
We think HS2 should be cancelled in its entirety.
On a number of occasions it has been stated that parts of NPR rely on parts of HS2, this is simply a ruse that has been cooked up to try and prop up the case for HS2. Whilst we fully support the idea of rail infrastructure spend in the North of England to be prioritised ahead of HS2, the current NPR seem to ‘come from the same place’ and make all the same mistakes, for all the same reasons, as HS2 does. NPR needs to revisit Eddington and make an assessment of what is needed.
• any lessons from the project for other major projects
The major lessons that should be learned is the importance of trust and honesty when developing major schemes like HS2. All public officials should be issued with a copy of the Nolan Principles and the 2006 Fraud Act. Anyone proposing a transport infrastructure project should also be made to read the Eddington Report.
Submitted on behalf of Stop HS2, 16th October 2019.