HS2AA COMMENT: TRANSPORT SECRETARY INVOKES SECRECY LAWS TO HIDE HS2 REPORT FINDINGS.

HS2 ACTION ALLIANCE

NEWS ALERT

 

January 30, 2014.

 

HS2AA COMMENT: TRANSPORT SECRETARY INVOKES SECRECY LAWS TO HIDE HS2 REPORT FINDINGS.

 

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has invoked secrecy laws – believed not to have been used since the Iraq war – to prevent publication of an HS2 Project Assessment Report produced by the Major Projects Authority.

 

Richard Houghton of HS2 Action Alliance, the biggest national HS2 opposition campaign, said:

 

“So far as we can see, the last time secrecy laws of this nature were invoked was during the Iraq war. The implications are immense.

 

“We cannot work out how a Major Projects Authority (MPA) Project Assessment Report is not in the public interest.  The proposed £50 billion project will blight 500,000 homes (only 2% of whose owners will receive compensation) and which will generate massive environmental damage. Plus will likely destabilise the economic balance between the regions and London, and has massive job loss and job creation implications. Independent research says the majority of the population does not want HS2, so why shouldn’t the public know what the MPA has to say on its viability?

 

“We obviously have not had access to the MPA report into HS2, although as with everything of this nature there are leaks and rumours which lead us to believe that the report is damning and could see heads rolling in both the Department for Transport and other sections of government.

 

“Several other reports – one of which commissioned by HS2 Ltd and produced by Imperial College London actually stated that the economic benefits to each destination regions would be less than £10 million a year – say pretty well the same thing across the board. If the MPA report was supportive, then it would have been published like a shot.

 

“An IoD report says British business doesn’t want or need it; You Gov polls consistency say public opposition is growing and now runs at more than 50%. Public support runs at around 25%, and the trend is that the gap is widening in favour of opposition.

 

“Wakefield Council, in voting against HS2 yesterday, said in very stark terms they’d prefer to see investment in local transport and business rather than a new railway line; 62% of businesses in Yorkshire have also said they don’t see a need for HS2.

 

“And in real-life terms, huge swathes of both country and urban areas will suffer from road closures and diversions, cuts in rail services – which, in some areas may mean Sunday services for a decade – plus the consequences of construction ranging from dust and mud, through to business closures and environmental destruction.

 

“Secrecy and withholding of information kills governments – especially in an era when public and business alike are deeply suspicious of politicians. That is something which should be carefully considered not just by the current government, but any likely future Labour-led government.”

 

Links to refusal documents:

 

(Short document):

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-vote-office/January_2014/30%20January%202014/13.TRANSPORT-Project-management.pdf

 

Statements of reasons: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/276159/mpa-statement-of-reasons.pdf

 

Ends

 

Further information:

 

Iain Macauley

im@pressrelations.co.uk

07788 978800

John Read

john.read@readdillon.com

07774 476391