Those assessing the public consultation relating to an Environmental Statement for the controversial HS2 rail project have published a report indicating a very low level of public support for the scheme.
The feedback from the Golders report indicated from 21,833 respondents, a total of just 87 (0.4 per cent) supported HS2 going ahead, a lower number than the 146 responses (0.7 per cent) which were accidentally submitted blank.
The top five issues which respondents brought up were: asking for more tunnelling (12,637 – 58 per cent); the negative effects of HS2 on communities (9,716 – 45 per cent); concerns about sound, noise and vibration (9,330 – 43 per cent); the inadequacy and timescale of the consultation (9,280 – 43 per cent) and the lack of sustainability of the project (7,194 – 33 per cent).
The consultation on the 50,000 page Environmental Statement closed on February 27 with the analysis taking one month.
Of the responses more than 100 were more than 50 pages long, with one being more than 800 pages.
Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said the report simply collates residents’ concerns rather than making an effective assessment based on them. He said: “Yet again we have been given a report on HS2 which seeks to downplay the negative impacts of the project as much as possible. Thousands of people have spent a great deal of time and effort, far more than HS2 Ltd has, in assessing the environmental impacts of HS2, but their grave concerns for the environment have been downgraded to a tick in a box.”
Ben Ruse, lead spokesperson for HS2 Ltd said: “We acknowledge the importance of the responses contained within this report and thank everyone who has taken part in the consultation process to date.
“Environmental protection is of great importance to HS2 Ltd and the contents of this report will be given full consideration as the Hybrid Bill continues to make its passage through Parliament.”