Now I’m back from India I’ve had time to catch up on what’s been going on whilst I’ve been away and one of those things is the petitioning process for Hs2 Phase 2a from Birmingham to Crewe. The closing date for petitions was the 28th February and a total of 188 were received by the deadline. You can find copies of them on the Committee website here. If you want to follow the process of the bill, here’s a link to the Committee’s website.
Contrast 188 with the number of petitions received on Hs2 Phase 1 – 1,925!
Interestingly, of the 188 petitions, only 5 identify themselves as Hs2 ‘Action’ groups, which says a lot about how the Stophs2 campaign’s collapsed. I can’t see the Committee getting bogged down here as the quality of the petitions varies enormously. Some are very straightforward. The petition from Antoinette Sandbach, the MP for Eddisbury, mentions a single issue – compensation for tenants. Other petitions raise genuine questions and concerns over compensation, noise or mitigation. Some mention the scope of compulsory purchase powers whilst others are aggrieved and make impossible asks. But one stands out head and shoulders above the rest – the petition from the grandly titled “Madeley Independent Residents Stop Hs2 Action Group”. It’s an absolute pearler, a rambling opus full of bluster and threats, dodgy statistics and repetitive demands for legal aid. Here’s a few samples of the tone and content!
Err, you demand funding – and legal aid, but you’ll have the money to ‘construct costly civil cases against Hs2’? Righto…
I’m sure the 5 MPs on the Committee will be very impressed by this petition!
Those MPs are;
James Duddridge (Con, Rochford & Southend East). Chair of the Committee
Sandy Martin (Lab, Ipswich)
Sheryll Murray (Con, SE Cornwall)
Martin Whitfield (Lab, East Lothian)
Bill Wiggin (Con, N Herefordshire.)
Oddly enough, StopHs2 have never even thought to mention any of this. Gone are the days when they used to issue ‘advice’ on the petitioning process or generally crow about their influence. Mind, you, they have little to crow about. They’ve only managed one post to their website this month and that was a whinge about music!
Meanwhile, Stophs2’s latest doomed petition has 6 days left before it runs out of time. In 175 days it’s managed to gather 28,523 signatures, leaving to find 71,478 or 11,913 each and every day until March 21st! There’s more chance of Lord Lucan being found riding Shergar!
The anti Hs2 campaign’s struggling to go out with as much as a wimper…
UPDATE. 19th March 2018
The Committee started sitting today and heard evidence from both Hs2 Ltd’s QC’s and also Professor Andrew McNaughton. One snippet that came up was when Timothy Mould QC mentioned that a total of 26 of the 188 petitions would have their Locus Standi (right to be heard) challenged.