MP brands HS2 consultation a 'total sham' and an 'insult' to residents

A consultation into HS2 has been branded "a total sham" after it emerged Ministers plan to ignore any suggestions coming from it.

A consultation into Phase 2a of HS2 has been branded a 'sham'
A consultation into Phase 2a of HS2 has been branded a 'sham'

A Lords amendment forced the Government to agree to a public consultation into Phase 2a of the controversial line, which will carve through Staffordshire on its way from the West Midlands to Crewe.

The consultation runs until February 26 and seeks the views of people in Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire on the environmental impact of the works, as well as the current state of local transport provision.

However a leaflet promoting the consultation says "the Government does not intend to make changes to the Phase 2a scheme or to its planned construction programme in light of this consultation".

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant said the consultation was “a total sham and an insult to those living and working along the route”.

He said the leaflet made it clear that HS2 "do not intend to take the consultation seriously", and added: "This is in breach of the spirit of the law the Government has only just passed and its arrogance has been the hallmark of the way in which HS2 has consistently behaved.

“Once again, this so-called consultation has demonstrated the contempt HS2 holds for those living and working along the route and fails to protect the natural environment the rail line will destroy.

Spiralling cost

"The more the economic case against HS2 becomes compelling, the more HS2 thrashes around to avoid its responsibilities.

“I am now taking this matter up with ministers at the Department of Transport.”

Conservative Mr Fabricant is among a number of MPs to oppose HS2, with many raising concerns over the line's spiralling cost and the damage caused to the environment.

MPs have also questioned whether HS2 was needed with working patterns having changed due to the Covid pandemic.

Announcing the consultation last month, Transport Minister Andrew Stephenson said Royal Assent for Phase 2a would "not mean the end of engagement with local communities".

"Indeed, it is only the beginning of a renewed effort to try to mitigate the impacts of the HS2 works on them and I look forward to hearing views in response to this consultation," he added.

Staffordshire is impacted by the first two phases of HS2, which is set to pass through the parishes of Fradley and Streethay, Alrewas, Kings Bromley, Armitage with Handsacre, Mavesyn Ridware, Hamstall Ridware and Colton, Colwich, Ingestre with Tixall, Hopton and Coton, Whitgreave, Marston, Stone and Swynnerton, Whitmore, Baldwins Gate and Madeley.

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