die belebende Bedenkung

‘A fairly transparent scare tactic’

with 2 comments

April 2011 saw Global Rail News report Bircham Dyson Bell’s (BDB) appointment by HS2 Ltd to provide legal advice to its consultants on planning, environmental appraisal, public consultation and blight management, in a two year contract.

[‘HS2 Ltd appoints legal team’, 12 April 2011]

“Work will begin with immediate effect, and we’re very pleased to have engaged with the major projects team at BDB who have a strong track record in this sector and genre of legal work,” said Alison Munro, Chief Executive, HS2 Ltd.

In a candid BDB Law blogpost (23 December 2013) Stuart Thomson related some of the events behind HS2’s downward trajectory.

[‘Don’t blame the communications – It’s the Project!’, BDB blog, 23 Dec 2013]

[…] YouGov’s figures show there is now a lack of public support for the plans, and they also suggested that there is a lack of support from the voters of the northern cities that are said to benefit economically from the plans.

A real problem lies with failings in the statistics used. For instance, as part of the latest re-launch a new figure on how much delay and cost would be involved in an upgrade of the West Coast Main Line emerged. This seemed to be a fairly transparent scare tactic, focusing not on the benefits of the scheme but the dis-benefits of the alternatives. This confuses the message.
None of this is to say that the communications have been faultless. Cities supporting the scheme came in behind it quite forcefully at first but then until recently went very quiet. Only now are they again publically rolling in behind the project. If the supporters are not supporting then why should anyone else?

It has recently been suggested that tickets will be available for between £5 and £10. Quite how anybody can be sure 13 years before the line opens is unclear, but if this is the case then why not highlight this earlier?

There has certainly been a lack of lead from the very top of the DfT and it has taken Lord Heseltine to make the most impact in recent months.

The Government is also making efforts to retro-fit the project into the narrative centred on ‘winning the global race’.

The communications for the project have got a raw deal. The issues go deeper and if these are not addressed then the Bill will have a difficult journey in Parliament which could impact on its timescale and progress.

The blogpost also mentioned how Andrew Adonis had sought to link HS2 with the idea of green transport, stating at Labour’s 2009 party conference that “This high speed vision is possible if we make green transport our common cause.”

But there is nothing green about HS2 high speed rail, and HS2 Ltd have now admitted that the project would increase carbon emissions.

At 400 km/h trains use more than 3 times as much energy as at 200 km/h [Systra for Greengauge 21]

The whole HS2 project is built on scaremongering, misrepresentation, and lies.

Written by beleben

December 29, 2013 at 11:39 am

Posted in HS2, Politics

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. The Dutch looked closely at delivering faster journey times, and concluded that a cheaper and faster delivery would be achieved by tackling the points at which the traveller made initial access, changed mode or service, and got delivered to their final destination.

    They soon recognised that a train service alone would NEVER deliver the fastest journey times, and that the speed of the train was relatively irrelevant, compared to the frequency and connectivity provided between services and modes. Across the UK we fail miserably compared to what is being delivered in the Netherlands and elsewhere.

    A few high spots – often delivered by innovative independent operators – such as the Train Departure displays on Reading Buses as they approach Reading Station, so the passenger can alight and transfer quickly and directly to the first train to London, or another destination, without the need to pause and find out where to go.

    There is also the 15 minute tipping point, where a local rail service running frequently drops over that crucial walk-up and go point. London Overground services on the North London Line showed the impact of this move, and the ethos has spread as the LOROL network has grown. Centro should perhaps look at the potential to deliver this 15 minute frequency on their ‘metro’ rail network, with possible restoration of the 4-track corridor from Dorridge or even further out, and the flexibility of restoring or enhancing connections that would permit alternative use of Moor Street/Snow Hill and New Street.

    The vulnerability and intensive use of just 2 tracks for the New Street-Wolverhampton route is also a major weakness and the potential to make better use of the GW route by tram-train use or re-routing of trams through the communities they pass through might get more patronage on the trams from points between the 2 ends of the route offering a win-win opportunity.

    Worth pondering also that with current trains and signalling systems a 60-65 minute London-Birmingham journey would be possible, on upgrade-able routes, where substantially less destruction of houses, woodlands etc would be required.

    Dave H (@BCCletts)

    December 29, 2013 at 12:43 pm

  2. This is all very well. The project can only be killed as it deserves if politicians who have backed it can save face, or be paid off.

    charles marriage

    December 30, 2013 at 10:35 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: