DCSIMG

MP’s concern as ‘cock up’ sees nearly 900 pages left out of HS2 consultation

David Lidington MP

David Lidington MP

David Lidington has slammed another HS2 Ltd ‘cock up’ after hundreds of pages were left out of consultation documents on the £50 billion scheme.

A total of 877 pages of information affecting 17 constituencies, including Aylesbury and Buckingham, were left out of digital versions of the environmental statement.

The omitted details included surveys and maps.

HS2 Ltd said it has sent out documents with the correct information.

Mr Lidington - who was left ‘fuming’ in November when Walton Court residents were accidentally told access to their homes might be needed for 203 weeks, when actually it was two to three weeks - said the gaffe would only serve to spread distrust in the controversial project.

The Europe minister said: “I think where something like this is being planned which will have a big impact on a lot of people it is of the utmost importance that full and correct information is given.

“The consequences of this sort of mistake is that it fuels mistrust and it makes people less likely to believe anything that they’re told by HS2 Ltd, whether it is true or not.

“I’m pretty sure this is a cock up rather than conspiracy, but it benefits nobody.

“It harms the interests of local people who are wanting to respond to the consultation on the basis of full information and it harms the interests of the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd.”

People and organisations have until January 24 to respond to the 55,000-page document, which includes the hybrid bill, a deadline which will not be extended despite protests at the start of the 56-day consultation and since the latest error was revealed.

Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said: “Just when you think HS2 Ltd have displayed maximum incompetence, they lower the bar yet again.

“For three years whenever anyone has asked a question which officials have been unable to answer, they have said ‘it’ll be in the environmental statement’, but what we have seen in the environmental statement is contradictory and incomplete information, and now we find out there was a load of stuff they missed out, yet again.

“The whole concept of having a consultation on a 55,000-page document over 56 days which included Christmas was disgusting and completely undemocratic, but now we find that HS2 Ltd left out crucial information from the documents and they won’t extend the deadline.”

An HS2 Ltd spokesman said: “As soon as HS2 Ltd was made aware of the missing pages from some of the technical appendices, we took immediate steps to update the HS2 Ltd website and make all affected parties aware.

“We have distributed documents with the corrected information.

“These omissions would not prevent a proper understanding of the scheme or its environmental effects.

“This does not affect anyone’s ability to respond to the consultation on the environmental statement.”

 

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