HS2 Ltd to spend £1m monitoring Stop HS2 campaigners on social media

For months, campaigners opposed to the HS2 project have been wondering what the seven-strong media team at HS2 Ltd do all day, as there has always been a distinct lack of input from HS2 Ltd to the press and despite their social media policy saying that they update twitter during office hours, there have been no tweets from the quango since April 5th and their Facebook page has not been updated since March 30th. Following correspondence between HS2 Ltd and Independent Chiltern Councillor Seb Berry, we now have the answer to what HS2 Ltd do do, they monitor the twitter feeds of Stop HS2 Campaigners. During this Parliament, it is estimated that once ‘generous benefit packages’ have been included, the bill for this team will be over one million pounds.

A previous error message on a Government website, but even having something as simple as this seems to be beyond HS2 Ltd

A previous error message on a Government website, but even having something as simple as this seems to be beyond HS2 Ltd








Councillor Seb Berry had contacted HS2 Ltd regarding a community forum in his area, and was surprised that the response back stated that HS2 Ltd “Have noted your comments on Twitter on 16 April 2012”, eleven days after they had last sent a tweet. The email contained incorrect and misleading information, stating that the community forum meeting notes had been “circulated to all meeting attendees on 2 April 2012 via email”. Emails between Seb Berry and other attendees showed that only some of the attendees had got the notes.

Effectiveness of the social media policy of HS2 Ltd has been further questioned this weekend as whilst their website, http://www.hs2.org has been down since Saturday 21st April (still down as 12.23pm 23rd April), they have not even been able to produce a message apologising for this fact.

Seb Berry said;

“Tax payers will quite rightly be appalled that HS2 Ltd is wasting public money employing people to monitor Twitter and other social networks. There is already a tax payer funded HS2 spin operation – it’s called the Department for Transport. Yet the Secretary of State has given her blessing to HS2 Ltd spin doctors and now social media “advisors” costing hundreds of thousands of pounds per year. This is an outrageous waste of public money.”


Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2, said;
“Stop HS2 has long recognised the value of social media as a new way of interacting with other people.  But this incident shows HS2 Ltd’s disgraceful use of social media to provide incorrect and misleading information in response to a tweet from a campaigner.  It’s the worst type of state sponsored propaganda.

“Further, HS2 Ltd showed this weekend their inept use of social media.  When we realised on Sunday morning that the HS2 Ltd website had crashed, people used Twitter to let them know, and have since found it was down on Saturday. But a day later, there is still no sign that anyone in HS2 Ltd or the Department for Transport had even noticed that their website was unavailable to the general public.”

“No wonder the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd are so quick to dismiss suggestions that new forms of technology are transforming the ways people work and the need for travel.  By the time HS2 is supposed to open, the business leaders of tomorrow will be the people who have grown up with these types of technology.  They will have an instinctive grasp of how to use these ways of communicating, an understanding that HS2 Ltd is sadly lacking.”
Stop HS2 Campaign Coordinator Joe Rukin said;

“We have been trying to figure out what exactly the HS2 media team do all day as there is no overt sign of any work from them whatsoever most days. We now know that they somehow justify their bloated salaries by simply reading what we say all day. It is clear now why the DfT and HS2 Ltd don’t think that advances in IT will mean fewer people to travel, because they haven’t figured out how to use it yet. How an organisation like this can have its website down for two days and not say a dickie bird in this age is completely beyond us. Yet again, it is up the campaigners and volunteers to get the message out.”

25 comments to “HS2 Ltd to spend £1m monitoring Stop HS2 campaigners on social media”
  1. Dr. Morgan.
    Somehow I cannot see that your suggestion will go down very well with all those travellers using intermediate stations and local and local trains -especially on the already congested parts of the Birmingham- London line.

    Imagine the reaction if back in the 1960s as the traffic through High Wycombe was becoming intolerable, it had been suggested that through traffic should be given absolute priority and local traffic restricted / excluded from the existing A 40.

    Instead a bypass was planned , built and eventually incorporated into the M 40, so that local travellers and fast through traffic did not block each other; So too the “new” A 41 relieved Tring and Hemel, the M1 bypassed St Albans, Luton and Leicester, just as Kingston, Exeter and Oxford had been bypassed before World War 2.

    * Whatever one thinks of the detail of Hs2, or its route, the intention is comparable- to divert through traffic that would not serve intermediate stations anyway, from the existing route and thus free up capacity to meet rising demand for commuter and stopping services.

    It would be a bypass.

    • Ease the roads, ease the rails,
      Bypass the people when fluidity fails,
      Speed up congestion, take it away,
      Put it up north to ease south delay,

      Put in more rails, then put in more roads,
      Fill in the gaps to spread out the loads,
      Bring in more people, to demand faster ways,
      To travel up Britain in carbon filled haze.

      Build lots more bypasses, to carry us by,
      Bypass the bypasses, right up to the sky,
      When will we learn, that congestion will stay,
      At the end of all bypasses – wherever they lay.

      HS2 is meant to ease congestion like a bypass – but I think it will not.

      It will be expensive to travel on, and will not be the most convenient mode of transport for most people’s journeys, therefore the capacity it eases on conventional routes will be minimal.

      The few vacated seats, of the wealthy people who choose to shift their travel to HS2, will fill with new rail passengers when they discover that there are a few seats available on previously full trains at rush hour.

      If more people are encouraged to use the trains to travel north – as is envisaged by the Government – then more freight capacity will be needed to meet the expanded demands of the north, so the WCML will still be full to capacity with passengers and freight. Up north, the local transport networks will experience increased congestion. Requiring more bypasses!

  2. I have recently travelled from Birmingham to London on the 0741 in 62 minutes. If these trains were allowed to travel at their desogn speed of 140 mph, time could be 55 minutes with one stop or 60 minutes with two stops to/from New Street and not a mile away at the planned site. With these times and longer trains why do we need HS2?

    • The great british taxpayer does not, it is only politicians that need it……still cannot find any convincing evidence that proves why it is required.
      Your evidence seems to prove that it is an unnecessary burden to the tax payer which most people on this site would agree with.
      (Don’t bother Peter!)

    • because the prime minster and clleagues say we need it so as they cut away the nhs police service fire services and all the other services to pay for it makes no sense

  3. i have heard that the prime minster is thinking of puting off hs2 in favour for the 3rd runway at heathrow but the transport minster as said over my dead body roll on the next reshovel

    • @davis

      Don’t suppose you can provide a source for this nugget of information?

      Might it be that your source can be traced back to the powerful Heathrow Airport lobby – let’s just for argument sake, say that this came to pass – will the anti-HS2 brigade be rallying round to support your brothers in arms over at the Stop Runway 3 campaign – you know, the same people who posted an article on this site claiming to have single handedly stopped the 3rd Runway in its tracks via a Judicial Review and wishing STOPHS2 all the best in their efforts to follow suit?

        • Then the claim is spurious and we should discount its validity

          It helps to back up assertions with evidence, in the form of examples, quotes from reliable sources or references, it’s not doing so that is really stupid!

    • At least a third runway makes some sense.

      I actually do think we need that and we dont need to have a slightly quicker journey to a station in the middle of nowhere!

      • errrr…….does it “make some sense” to you @nameless because you just happen to live nowhere near Heathrow?

        • HS2 is clearly not an alternative to a third runway, because if it was, then there wouldn’t be any of the current calls for expansion at Heathrow. The director of the Campaign for HSR has stated publicly that he also wants another runway at Heathrow.

        • No. It makes some sense as globalisation will not be going away. You make an assumption there re my locality and have no actual causation evidence but in this case, by chance you are correct. I actually live in an area that will “benefit” from hs2. By which it means I will be able to get from london to sheffield slightly quicker but then lose the entire time saving getting from a station in the middle of nowhere in order to catch another train. Brilliant!

          • @nameless: “I actually live in an area that will “benefit” from hs2. By which it means I will be able to get from london to sheffield slightly quicker but then lose the entire time saving getting from a station in the middle of nowhere in order to catch another train. Brilliant!”

            So Meadhowhall is in the “middle of nowhere” – I suppose that’s why there are so many retail outlets located there?

            Do you believe that a station on the new line will remain isolated, bereft of connecting transport links, with construction timetabled over a twenty year period – if so all I can say is that your anti-HS2 blinkers have become a permanent personality characteristic – I’d see someone about it quickly before this condition becomes untreatable?

            • Please dont attempt faux psychology on me. You will swing and miss every time.

              Also please cite a source for it being meadowhall. Thats utter fiction made up to bolster your argument (a common tactic). There has been no decision just proposed sites and NONE of them were Meadowhall!

            • OK @John / @nameless

              What will I (as in me personally) be able to do with HS2 in-situ that I can’t do now?

              I’ve previously outlined the possible nature of a post-HS2 environment. I’d be able to take a short (6km) taxi ride, in much the same way Greater London residents do now to St. Pancras, to a Manchester South Hub station, probably constructed within the envrions of Manchester Airport as the new line heads north to a city centre Manchester terminus, possibly sited at Manchester Mayfield, next door to Manchester Piccadilly.

              From there it will be a platform to platform journey of approx 2.5 hours from Manchester to Lille Europe. In this way HS2 (phases 1&2) will grant direct access (for me personally and approx 15 million more of my fellow inhabitants across NW.England, West Midlands, East Midlands and Yorks-Humber) to an expanding and (by the time of completion) relatively comprehensive pan-European High Speed rail network. Read through a sample of these linked articles;
              and (please excuse the pun) the direction of travel is abundantly clear. High Speed Rail is here to stay, established as the preferred medium of mass public transport across Europe in the 21st century.

              Perceptions of HS2 as an exclusively UK domestic project miss the point entirely. HS2 is merely an extension to a pre-existing network already developing a critical mass capable of propelling the services it facilitates to a pre-eminent position as the natural choice for intra-European city to city travel

              I’m not taking a swing at anyone – just challenging some lazy assumptions on your part and asking you to provide some supporting evidence to back up your claim.

              HS2 phase 2 station at Meadowhall? – see this Yorkshire Post article on the subject. Surely you know that the phase 2 plan is already on Justine Greening’s desk and potential routes are being openly discussed with various stakeholders, ie. local councils along the proposed pathways and other interested parties – it won’t be long before much of the preferred route of phase 2 is in the public domain?

            • Dear Peter,
              I will be so happy that you will be able to do all that you claim you will be able to do! Will you do this often and how much do you think that it will cost you?

              As for “not taking a swing at anyone”, do you actually read some of the comments that you aim at people on this site? I would hate to be on the receiving end of a real swing!
              As for the “anti-HS2 blinkers” accusation that you made, I think it may be fair to suggest you follow the same treatment to remove your pro-HS2 blinkers! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion regarding HS2. Of course those of us forced into having this line intrude upon our lives when we cannot use phase one due to no stations being built between London and Birmingham are the ones most likely to be against it.
              Now you have admitted to how far away you will be from it I think that we can see that it is for the “convenience of people like you that some of us are likely to have to give up quite a lot.
              I would suggest in future that you consider that before being quite so arrogant/brusque in your answers and observations.

              I look forward to seeing you hurtle across the end of my garden in the future by the way.

            • @Ian S

              Yep, I read my comments very carefully and I will remember to wave – do hang out some kind of notice so I know where to look – keep the message printable at least?

            • @namelss – if you want to interpret the article in that manner, who am I to contradict you.

              Meadowhall is a definite strong candidate for the South Yorkshire, HS2 phase 2, station. I can’t be 100% certain because I have no privileged access to the report currently under consideration but if I was a betting man, I’d put money on the Sheffield station being in the vicinity of Meadhowhall, unless of course the local movers and shakers in Sheffield are successful in lobbying for a site closer to the city centre.

  4. “wondering what the seven-strong media team at HS2 Ltd do all day” – you have no idea how bad the transport sector is regarding productivity. This is “normal”. The transport sector really is an utter shambles frankly and yet these dysfunctional organisations were there to provide EXPERT input on the merits of the case. The fact that the case is so weak doesnt override the fact that self-interests of these organisations and its staff has clearly led to bias, fallacy or blatant lies being presented as “evidence”. The real academic experts were widely ignored as they opposed it quite passionately.

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