Guest column by HS2 campaigner Jonathan Loescher: HS2 Ltd is like Dracula in charge of the Haematology Department

Jonathan Loescher
Jonathan Loescher

HS2 Ltd has a massive conflict of interest. It is mandated by Government to build a railway as quickly and cheaply as possible.

It is also supposed to deal with people who are due to lose homes, businesses and lifestyles with respect and fairly.

HS2 Ltd is clearly struggling to manage this conflict. HS2 Ltd is in effect “the fox sent to look after the chickens” or as somebody put it “Dracula in charge of the Haematology Dept.”

There are no effective checks and balances to regulate how HS2 Ltd treats those unlucky enough to be on or near the route of HS2. In that vacuum of effective regulation, HS2 Ltd is behaving like Mugabe’s thugs clearing the slums in Harare. Governments (of whatever colour) will turn a blind eye, because they want HS2 built as cheaply and quickly as possible.

This is why: Communities have been subjected to sham Community Forums and consultations serving only to “tick the box” of the Aarhus convention. This is why the compensation consultations was done in a way that was so “unfair as to be unlawful.”

Most mitigation proposals put forward by local communities have not been looked at properly or totally ignored (however cost effective).

Little or no adequate work is being done to reduce the impact of HS2 Ltd on communities and businesses up and down the route.

The proper way to respond to the failings in processes and procedures of HS2 Ltd is to make a formal complaint. This is set out in HS2 Ltd’s own complaints procedure. The initial phase of a complaint is dealt with by HS2 Managers and ultimately Alison Munro (HS2 Ltd chief executive).

There is also an important question that needs to be asked by our local MPs. To  whom is HS2 Ltd accountable for the way it deals with individuals who are due to lose their homes, businesses and communities as a result of HS2, and critically, how and by whom is that accountability being monitored?

I would urge all concerned readers to write to their local Member of Parliament and ask them this question. If the MP is unable to answer it, then ask them to write to the Secretary of State for Transport to demand an answer. If necessary questions should be asked in Parliament.