GOLDER’S HIGH-SPEED HS2 REPORT: HOW CAN 22,000 RESPONSES AND A 50,000 PAGE CONSULTATION BE SUMMARISED FOR MPS IN JUST FIVE WEEKS?

HS2 ACTION ALLIANCE

NEWS

 

April 7, 2014.

 

GOLDER’S HIGH-SPEED HS2 REPORT: HOW CAN 22,000 RESPONSES AND A 50,000 PAGE CONSULTATION BE SUMMARISED FOR MPS IN JUST FIVE WEEKS?

 

Richard Houghton of HS2 opposition group HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA), commenting on Golder’s high-speed summary to MPs of 22,000 HS2 environmental statement consultation responses:

 

“Everything about HS2 is fast and rushed – now we have a breakneck-speed summary of 22,000 consultation responses to the HS2 environment statement on the same day the Environmental Audit Committee report into HS2 warned it had gone off the rails.

 

“Golder was instructed by Parliament to collate the responses received from the public to the consultation on the Environmental Statement, the 50,000 pages which sought to describe the environmental impacts of Phase 1 of HS2.

 

“We have a number of concerns: Golder was appointed in a secretive process and is considered by many to take a highly controversial approach in representing developers or landowners proposing or engaging in plans to drive commercial development at environmental cost in areas of beauty or scientific interest.

 

“Golder was instructed to collate material in an attempt to show compliance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, the key piece of European environmental legislation which requires decision makers to take into consideration the views of the public.

 

“This process appears to be another botch. The consultation closed February 27, 2014, and the government has confirmed around 22,000 responses were received. Just five weeks later a report is published which attempts to describe to MPs all the issues raised in that consultation – all 50,000 pages of it.  It also means Golder has reviewed something like 700 submissions a day.

 

“This period is far too short to effectively summarise the numerous complex points raised in consultation responses received from local authorities, NGOs, groups such as HS2AA, most of which ran to more than 100 pages and included independent reports on areas such as carbon, biodiversity, noise and so on. There were also countless errors and omissions in the environmental statement which were identified in an independent report produced by SLR, a global environmental consultancy.

 

“MPs have no right to seek clarification of points from Golder, Golder does not have to produce a corrected environmental statement, and MPs have just three weeks to absorb the report – while on holiday – and then the day they come back from their break they will vote on it a crucial matter at the end of a process which appears to have been timed to ensure minimal debate.

 

“This is the latest manifestation of an approval process which is hopelessly non-compliant with European environmental law.”

 

Ends

 

Further information:

Iain Macauley

im@pressrelations.co.uk

07788 978800

 

John Read

john.read@readdillon.com

07774 476391

 

http://www.hs2actionalliance.org/