Lords call for second HS2 consultation delay


The consultation on the environmental impact of HS2 should be extended again, Lords have ruled.

Less than a week after the deadline was extended from January 24 to February 10, the House of Lords standing orders committee ruled it should be put back again to February 27.

People wishing to comment on the HS2 hybrid bill and environmental statement were originally given just 56 days to sift through more than 50,000 pages of information.

The two Parliamentary rulings to extend the deadline come after nearly 900 pages were left out of copies of the environmental statement.

As a result, the Lords said the consultation should have restarted from January 2, giving people 56 days to respond from then.

HS2 Ltd, the government-backed company behind the £50 billion line, has yet to say if it will comply with the ruling, but it is highly likely it will.

HS2 spokesman Ben Ruse said: “We were happy to comply with the ruling of the Commons select committee that has already extended the consultation on the environmental statement.

“Ministers will now need to consider today’s (Monday) ruling before deciding on how to respond.”

The new deadline would delay the date of the second reading of the hybrid bill, effectively the planning application for the line. This is now unlikely to happen before Easter, according to campaigners.

Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said those in charge of HS2 had been ‘completely incompetent’.

Mr Rukin said: “HS2 Ltd have had their Parliamentary timetable blown out of the water due to nothing else but their own incompetence.

“They have always been fixated with doing things quickly instead of properly, and yet again it is a case of more haste, less speed.

“This will be welcome news to thousands of people who have been struggling with this gargantuan consultation, and it is telling that yet again an independent committee of Parliamentarians has cast an eye over the work of HS2 Ltd, and yet again found that work to be lacking.”