Regional planning professor unmasks the Truth behind HS2 spin

At the High Speed Rail “blank cheque” committee, Professor of Urban & Regional Studies, John Tomaney, revealed that claims being made to try to justify building HS2 to the Midlands & northern Britain are pure spin.

There is still time to submit written evidence to the committee. While the deadline is Thursday 18th July, it is strongly recommended that if you do intend to submit evidence by Tuesday, as otherwise it might be accepted, but not properly considered.

There are more details on how to submit on the Parliament website here.

Email: Fax: 020 7219 8381, Post: Michelle Edney, Senior Executive Officer, Scrutiny Unit, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA.

7 comments to “Regional planning professor unmasks the Truth behind HS2 spin”
  1. Have you seen the new RSVB advert showing a hs rail track with birds on the side of the track with no where to go .this is exactly what hs2 will do to our nature and wildlife .well done to them for including this point in there theme protecting our wildlife .I do hope our transport minsters see this film .and I hope all the MPs see what they are.
    Voteing for when they back hs2

  2. Paul Harlow good work Paul I am sure hs2 ltd are proberly expecting a lot of legel problems with there project they have a big advantage over the people aposeing hs2 is they are not paying the legel fee,s

  3. This presentation of better rail links within regions is a good analysis which starts where Beeching finished. The idea of liberating entrapped mining villages is already addressed by the car. However there are many inefficient rail links of slow trains and 2 to 3 connections. This is a valid request but is not what hs2 set out to address. Starting in the north east and north west it may be considered too expensive for the gain. new tracks and passing loops will be needed. SRA ducked out of this and elecrtification mentioned does not change the rail efficiency either by much a diversion of limited funding. HS2 should have extended some reach for some towns as with HS1 and Javelin rail in Kent. Webbing out is a term some use to describe Javellin and a different routing could do this but not route 3. The railway should list all it cannot do for freight and commuters and longer distance and find the most deserving needs nationally before diverting the multibillions on a frustraton MPs can pretend solves regional issues. As the Professor says that is a different number of factors of which HS2 is lacking.

    • We must remember that HS2 is Londoncentric and a political gesture to the North with some clear benefit to Birmingham Leeds and Manchester), the preferred and somewhat pampered cities of the ‘North’ who have a vocal lobbying group and influence in the Westminster Palace.
      The real issues are the Land grab and development deals. Hence the need for the Paving Bill and the Safeguarding of the route that in Court was not a determined route.
      Timing is everything and this is well orchestrated plan with much use of spin and media to achieve ends.
      “compensation for blighted owners” is really more confirmation of route for developers. How many MPs voted for the Paving Bill to secure ‘compensation’ which is a double edged sword. The compensation consultation is yet to happen, the last was unlawful. Machievellian brilliance indeed.
      HS2 ltd are now promulgating the notion that the scheme may fail and support may not take it through the next election.
      WHy one should ask would they take this story to the press and in this form.
      A feigned weaknesss to disarm and reduce the power of mounting political dissent perchance? (No need to act now its not going to happen until after the election, no need to listen to the electorate just now)
      Similar use of the media led to the rumor that the scheme was going to kicked into the long grass last year whilst in fact the Cabinet were advancing the scheme with HS2 ltd.
      It is all about controlling perception and opposition.
      Propaganda at its finest and most despicable.
      The truth is that structural changes are being introduced by seeming stealth and outside of Parliamentary control even as the Paving Bill committee is going through the motions. It appears Parliament is no longer in control of process; the tail is wagging the dog.
      Worth a read (especially if one reads between the lines to the back story.
      I don’t trust a syllable that Ms Munro utters. Sorry HS2 have over-used press statement and spin and furthered PR campaigns/lobbying of dubious credibility. Parliament should not trust either (given HS2’s track record). We are about to hit the Parliamentary recess. This is when the action will hot up outside of scrutiny.
      Be aware and be warned.

      • Fun and Games
        I did warn you
        “Law firm Pinsent Masons has hired five senior lawyers from the transport, energy and utilities, planning and environment team at rival practice Bircham Dyson Bell.
        Law firm Pinsent Masons has hired five senior lawyers from the transport, energy and utilities, planning and environment team at rival practice Bircham Dyson Bell.

        Tagged by:England, Business
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        The five are senior associates: Ian Cameron, Sarah Clark, Tom Henderson, Duncan O’Connor and Francis Tyrrell.

        They will join Pinsent Mason’s infrastructure, planning and government affairs division, headed by former Bircham Dyson Bell head of major projects Robbie Owen, who joined the firm in June.

        Pinsent Masons said the team had a “market-leading reputuation” for working on major and national infrastructure projects and was already “advising on procedures” related to the government’s HS2 Phase 1 Hybrid Bill, due in December.

        Richard Ford, head of planning, parliamentary and environment at Pinsent Masons, said: “We now have over 60 specialist lawyers capable of dealing with the largest and most complex consenting and environmental projects who are all very focused on our clients’ business sectors and service delivery”.

        Pinsent Masons said the new lawyers would join the firm over the coming weeks.

    • Proffesor Tomaney was certainly sceptical about anyone making firm predictions as to the regional benefits that would follow the building of HS2.

      Interestingly enough, he seemed equally unconvinced as to the oft repeated assertion that faster broadband would make fast travel redundant.

      In fact, his whole message seemed to be that much more investigation was required and his words were more measured than might be assumed from reading the headline to this piece.

      “Spin” is a term that can be applied to any statement or conclusion that is at variance with one’s own received wisdom.

      At the end of the recent Stafford convention, Mr . Bill Cash M.P.slipped in the suggestion of possible “250 mph driverless trains” and hinted of the possible threat posed to rural communities of large camps of construction workers- probably foreign(!)…” So prepare to lock up your daughters and batten your doors- but for now take the statements- from all sides- with a very large pinch of salt . “Spinning” is not unique to any one side.

      • JW, I don’t think too many people say that faster broadband makes fast journeys redundant. But it is one very good reason why journeys probably won’t grow at the rate that the HS2 project requires.

        Professor Tomaney is quite clear. There is “little to no” basis to make the claims for regional development that the government has put forward as a prime justification for HS2. This is an area that Tomaney has studied and he has not found the evidence.

        Professor Whitelegg ( Liverpool John Moores ) says that places like Liverpool and Warrington will lose jobs to Manchester.

        All of which is perfectly logical.

        So fast forward 25 years and what would we have :

        1. An army of people doing the 400 daily round trip from Manchester to London. They may or may not have the time to spend much of their disposable income in Manchester.

        2. Some element of relocation of business in the North West to Manchester. ( You could probably say the same for Hull, Wakefield etc to Leeds ).

        3. North West areas away from Manchester ( or Yorkshire away from Leeds ) being at best unaffected but quite possibly worse off.

        The government’s line about an “engine for growth” is pure smoke and mirrors .. or spin as Tomaney put it.

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