16th Dec, 2018

Campaigners accuse HS2 bosses of misleading public after denying project is behind schedule

CAMPAIGNERS against HS2 have accused bosses of misleading the public after they denied the multi-billion pound project was behind schedule.

HS2 Ltd has defended claims construction work for the high-speed line linking Birmingham and London was around three years behind schedules published in 2013.

The company called the claims ‘misleading’ and said work on 60 sites was ‘well underway’ – despite confirmed delays in a number of areas including Warwickshire.

Works to build a bridge to carry the six-lane A46 at Kenilworth over the HS2 line was due to start in January, but has now been postponed until a new roundabout at the Stoneleigh junction has been completed in late 2020.

The company said the ‘schedule’ had been confused with an environmental statement – a document which included detailed construction timetables for residential areas along the line.

HS2 bosses said the document – which was presented to parliament – was only ‘indicative’ and a further report included changes suggested by MPs – though was not made public.

And the company maintain the original completion date for the 216km route would be 2026.

But campaigners argued it was ‘completely impossible’ for work to be underway across 60 sites as designs did not even exist for some stations and ground surveys along the proposed route were still ongoing.

Campaign manager Joe Rukin called the response from bosses ‘deeply alarming’ and said it was ‘abundantly clear’ the ‘vast majority of HS2 construction’ was late.

He added: “HS2 Ltd has just stated it is ‘wrong and misleading’ to think that the document its website states contains the construction programme, actually contains the construction programme.

“Not only that, but it seems to be casually saying that the thousands of people who attended consultation events in 2013 were lied to, and the most detailed consultation document ever presented to parliament was also a lie.”

“Spin and the denial of reality are now so fundamentally embedded within the project that HS2 Ltd seriously think it is reasonable to say it’s ‘wrong and misleading’ to state it is years behind its officially published timetable.

“HS2 Ltd is acting like a spoiled kid, basically admitting it is completely unaccountable, totally out of control, and no-one should ever believe a word it says.”

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