HS2 Ltd have agreed to withdraw an advertisement for the HS2 project following a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, which claimed a video the quango produced was misleading.
Nineteen issues were raised in the original complaint brought by Camden resident Fran Heron, with the ASA taking HS2 Ltd to task over fifteen of them. Of the four issues not taken on, the ASA bizarrely said that it was alright for HS2 Ltd to say that ‘Rail travel has doubled’, as they did not specify the period over which this has happened. Instead of contesting the charge of false advertising, HS2 Ltd have agreed to withdraw the video, meaning the ASA will now not proceed with their investigation.
Issues raised in the complaint included these claims:
- That HS2 is needed to ‘bypass clogged arteries’, despite Euston being the second quietest London terminus and the First Group WCML franchise bid document stating that there is quite a lot of spare capacity on this line.
- HS2 would stimulate growth ‘around the UK’, despite the fact HS2 would at best suck economic activity to station sites at the expense of wider regions.
- HS2 would deliver £2 for every £1 spent, despite the fact this is disputed by the National Audit Office, Public Accounts Committee and many others.
- That HS2 will create homes, when the only current plan associated with HS2 concerning housing is to knock them down.
- That HS2 would not be built at the expense of other transport projects, despite the fact it is required to take 44% of the entire rail budget.
- Alternatives to HS2 do not deliver enough capacity, a statement which is again at odds with the findings of the National Audit Office.
- That investing in alternatives would cause disruption to the existing network, whilst ignoring the disruption caused by HS2, such as the ten-year rebuild of Euston, or the need to move the M1 in two places.
- Claiming that the UK does not have internal high-speed trains, when the internationally accepted definition of what constitutes as HSR is 124mph.
- That adding 351 miles worth of railway to a current total of approximately 10,000 miles will ‘revitalise the network’.
- That HS2 will create jobs, when apart from the actual construction of the railway, HS2 is expected only to ‘support’ jobs.
- That HS2 will provide a £15bn annual boost to the economy, despite the fact these figures have been described by economists as having ‘no statistical basis’ and being ‘essentially made up’.
The Stop HS2 campaign has produced an edit of the video (embedded at the bottom of this page), detailing the points of the complaint, and whilst HS2 Ltd have withdrawn the original from their youtube channel, at time of writing, it is still available via the developers Vimeo channel.
= UPDATE =
Today, the Advertising Standards Authority have included High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd (trading as HS2 Ltd) in their list of ‘informally resolved cases‘, which states “After consideration by the ASA of complaints received, the following companies and organisations agreed to amend or withdraw advertising without the need for a formal investigation.” . This is the third time HS2 Ltd has agreed to amend or withdraw claims, and thus avoid having to defend itself following a complaint to the ASA, with the other cases being resolved on 29th May 2013 and 29th January 2014. Details can be foundhere
However, despite the fact HS2 Ltd did not refer the ASA to the Department for Transport, the HS2 Ltd press office have today claimed the animation had nothing to do with them, but was commissioned by the DfT. The DfT now claim they always intended to take the video down after a year because they had only bought the rights to the music for a year. This is despite the fact it is less than a year since the video was first published, it was removed a fortnight ago, before the complainant had received her letter from the ASA, and that it is still available to view via the developers’ channel.
= UPDATE ENDS =
Fran Heron, who brought the complaint said:
“The HS2 promotional animation was very engaging and cleverly drawn. The great pity is it was ram-jam full of deliberate distortions, gross exaggerations, statistical manipulation and fairy-tale narrative. There was nothing new there though, as it bears all the hallmarks of a typical HS2 Ltd public relations disaster. HS2 Ltd keep throwing public money at conning the public, but the public are not conned.”
Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin said:
“It is clear that HS2 Ltd have decided to withdraw a grossly misleading advert rather than have the Advertising Standards Authority rule that they had produced a grossly misleading advert, and are now trying to come up with feeble excuses, despite this being the third time this has happened. This advert was just one in a long line of incidences where HS2 Ltd and the Government have been willing to suggest that things they have made up because they sound good are indeed facts. The reason HS2 Ltd have to make things up to make their project sound like a good idea is because there aren’t any real facts which support the project.”
The text of the original complaint can be downloaded at: http://stophs2.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/franasacomplaint.docx
Plans for the HS2 rail line route in Staffordshire have changed, the company responsible for the project said.
It has now been proposed to go under the A38, the West Coast Main Line and the South Staffordshire line, rather than run over them on viaducts near Lichfield, HS2 Ltd said.
Two planned crossings over the Trent and Mersey Canal have been scrapped.
The impact on the landscape would be reduced, the company said.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin had proposed the changes, which reflected what many residents and stakeholders requested, it added.
HS2 Ltd said the changes would reduce the size of embankments in the area, as a result of work involving itself and Staffordshire County Council.
The council’s cabinet member for economy, environment and transport, Mark Winnington, said: “Although we are opposed to HS2, from the outset we have put all our efforts into getting the best deal we can for Staffordshire and its people.”
Mr McLoughlin said: “I am delighted that through partnership working with Staffordshire County Council we have been able to find an engineering solution that reduces HS2’s impact on the area.”
The Bucks Herald
HS2 boss Sir David Higgins today saw with his own eyes the areas which will directly suffer thanks to the proposed £50bn high speed rail line.
Sir David, who took on the mantle of HS2 executive chairman in March this year, took up the invite from Aylesbury MP David Lidington and this morning met with locals in Wendover, Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury to speak face-to-face about their fears.
He said: “I’d spoken to David and committed to coming up here and looking on the ground at areas which are most affected by HS2.
“We’re looking at continuing the work we’re doing with the communities to understand and look at the different methods of mitigation.
“I think on national infastructure projects which have a national role, there are always communities that are impacted and there are different ways of how communities are compensated, be it by land compensation or by environmental mitigation and it is always a case of striking a balance.”
He visited some of the areas most affected by HS2, including London Road, St Mary’s Church, Bacombe Lane and Ellesborough Road in Wendover; the Old Risborough Road in Stoke Mandeville and several roads just 150m from the line on the edge of the Hawkslade and Fairford Leys estates in Aylesbury.
He stood where 200mph trains could be thundering past less than every two minutes by 2026.
Mitigation discussed include planting trees to buffer noise, temporary link road construction to ease traffic congestion and the reinstatement of amenities such as golf courses, football pitches and playing fields that will be carved up by the line.
When asked whether the project’s hefty cost could be justified, Sir David said: “Our railway lines are very old – no new railways have been built for more than 100 years, and this is the first national railway.
“Other countries in Europe are decades ahead of us in building national infastructure. Getting through the Chilterns has always been a challenge, right back to the Roman days.
“It is obviously a route chosen by Chiltern Railways, the National Grid goes through here as do a number of A roads, but this issue is when we get closer to communities and clearly it’s about striking a balance.
“What today is all about is me seeing on the ground the result of the designers, engineers and community consultations.”
Following the tour, Mr Lidington said: “I’m pleased David agreed to come and was happy to meet people who are at the sharp end.
“It has left me in no doubt that these residents know what they’re talking about – they are the ones who have researched it and they know the detail.
“David was given some direct but courteous messages, and while the meeting hasn’t made me love HS2, it has been good to talk in detail about the effects.
“I’m sure we can work out a way to handle the construction better, and we need very strict plans put in place to minimise the impact of that on the local communities.
“David has said he was very impressed by the people he met today, and I feel he is very competent and capable as the man in charge.”
Minutes of Mid Cheshire Against HS2 Annual General Meeting
Wednesday 4th June 2014 held at the Duke of Portland Public House Lach Dennis Cheshire at 7.30 pm
Five MCAHS2 Committee members and 21 members of HS2 (see Appendix 1)
Committee members: Bob Taylor, Ewen Simpson, Philip Lund
Members: Cllr Jon Atherton, Mic and Annabel Hollis, Shirley and Bob Almquist, Bill and Hilary Skinner, Penny and Rod Suckling
1. Report from Chair
Graham Dellow (Secretary) welcomed all to the meeting and requested attendees add their names and emails to the MCAHS2 database, which currently stands at 175 people. GD introduced the members of the MCHAHS2 Committee present at meeting.
Geoff Edwards – Deputy Chair
Graham Dellow – Secretary
Chris Triffit – Treasurer
Ros Todhunter – Meeting Secretary
Absent Committee members were:
Ewen Simpson – Press Officer
Philip Lund, Derek Armstrong, Bob Taylor
Brian Simpson, former Chair who resigned in January 2014 was thanked for his considerable contribution to and guidance of the group during 2013.
Geoff Edwards (Deputy Chair) presented the report for MCAHS2 activities for the year since April 2013; items covered were:
- Group set up by concerned individuals, now committee members of MCAHS2 committee, post the January 2013 HS2 route announcement
- 10th April 2013 inaugural meeting of Mid Cheshire Against HS2 held in the Village Rooms, LostockGreenMethodistChurch (minutes in Appendix 2)
- June 2013 helped at anti HS2 stand at Cheshire Show c. 1500 people spoken to over two days
- July 2013 Public Meeting held at Greenheyes Farm, Bostock, Middlewich. Attended by 200-300 people including Stephen O’Brien MP for Eddisbury, Joe Rukin STOPHS2, Green Party and UKIP (only political parties plus Plaid Cymru who are against HS2)
- MCAHS2 are apolitical
- September 2013 protested outside the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester
- Autumn 2013 attended HS2 road shows
- Autumn 2013 Attended National Rail Conference in Manchester
- Attended Manchester Civic Society HS2 event
- November 2013 attended, with a lot of local residents, anti HS2 protest outside Houses of Parliament and meeting in H of P with anti HS2 MPS
- Lobbied George Osborne and attended protests outside local meetings attended by GO which helped some of his constituents get a meeting with George Osborne
- Organised fund raising events – spring fair, bring and buy sale, book sale, quiz
- Had stands at artisan markets in Northwich, Middlewich, Winsford, Knutsford and Wilmslow
- Collected over 1000 signatures on anti HS2 petition at many of above events
- Produced, delivered and handed out leaflets on impact of HS2 locally and nationally
- Ewen Simpson as MCAHS2 press officer built up lot of media contacts – local and national newspapers, TV
- Submitted a comprehensive report to the HS2 Consultation
- Submitted a petition to the HS2 Phase 1 Hybrid Bill Committee
Current aims of MCAHS2
- Need new Chair of MCAHS2
- Involve younger generation in anti HS2 campaign
- Main objective is to get HS2 stopped
- Failing that MCAHS2 will go for the best possible mitigation
Current stage of HS2 legislation
- HS2 Phase 1 Hybrid Bill 2nd reading passed in parliament in April 2014
- Now in Petition stage – nationally c. 2000 petitions have been submitted which compares with c.900 for HS1 and c.900 for Cross Rail; the petitioning stage of these took 3 years
- 3rd reading of HS2 Phase 1 has yet to take place
- Another bill for HS2 Phase 2 will be presented to parliament in the next session
- Even if all stages are passed by parliament projects do not always go ahead – Maplin airport is an example from the 1960s
2. Report from Treasurer
Chris Triffit presented the balance sheet for year ending 04 June 2014 (Appendix 3). The balance sheet will be audited shortly by a Chartered Accountant to conform to the constitution of the MCAHS2 action group and the bank account requirements.
Funds stand at £953.46. Since formation of MCAHS2 c. £2700 income has been raised from events, sales and generous donations; c. £1800 has been spent.
Fund raising and expenditure includes:
- July 2013 Public Meeting at Greenheyes Farm
- Publicity leaflets for HS2 Road shows and artisan markets stands – biggest expenditure but have a big impact in getting the anti HS2 message spread widely
- Christmas card designed by local cartoonist Bill Stott. MCAHS2 expressed their thanks for his immense support, which includes posters, banners and cartoons
- Quiz Night in Byley Village Hall. Thanks to Phil Smallwood who was quiz master and a key supporter of MCAHS2
- Spring Fair at Lach Dennis in April 2014
- Banner – the first one is up on Greenheyes Farm land between Middlewich and Bostock
- MCAHS2 contributes to income for Joe Rukin of STOP HS2; he is entirely dependant on donations from action groups and individuals. MCAHS2 considers Joe Rukin a good investment
- Current sale items are: A3 size anti HS2 display boards and Ellie white elephant lapel badges
3. Election of Management Committee for forthcoming year
GD explained that there was a vacancy for the post of Chair of MCAHS2, volunteers were asked to join the committee; none came forward. The existing committee members were wiling to stand for another year. Roger Percy proposed, seconded by Mike Slater, that the existing committee be confirmed in post, proposal was passed by a unanimous vote of members present.
Members were asked to forward names for the post of Chair of MCAHS2.
4. Matters raised by MCAHS2 Committee
4.1. RT urged members to comment on Transport Select Committee submission on the national rail transport requirements, closing date for comments 13th June 2014.
4.2. CT reported that MCAHS2 would b presenting a paper on the Engineering and Terotechnology challenges of HS2 to Stephen O’Brien MP Eddisbury and HS2 Ltd senior engineers provisional date 19th June in London and also a meeting with SO’D and local HS2 rep in Cheshire. Stephen O’Brien had defied the Con Party whips and abstained in the 2nd reading vote on the Hybrid Bill on the assurance that this meeting would take place.
4.3. GE requested volunteers to help at events, to form crowds at protests, join the committee and help in any way and provide email addresses to MCAHS2 to be put on mailing list for info, updates, newsletters etc.
4.4. GD reported that:
- MCAHS2 is in contact with 7 to 8 other groupsfrom Madeley on the Cheshire/Staffordshire border to Warburton in the north. The groups coordinate and liaise through the All Cheshire Against HS2 action group.
- The One Voice Against HS2 Action group run by John Keleher and Helen Shaul in Pickmere has asked to join up with MCAHS2 action group. The MCAHS2 committee recommended this takes place as it would extend the area covered from Wimboldsley/Stanthorne to Pickmere, incorporating Whatcroft, Lach Dennis, Lostock Green, Lostock Gralam and Wincham.
- John Keleher and Helen Shaul would be present at the Cheshire Show 2014 handing out leaflet and MCAHS2 would be helping. Any offers of support and help welcomed.
- Bill Armstrong a sixth form student at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School had mounted a successful campaign against a housing development in Holmes Chapel. GD had contacted him and he had shown interest in joining in the anti HS2 campaign and had been invited to attend the next committee meeting. RT suggested that Bill and fellow students should be invited to organise an anti v pro HS2 public debate.
5. Comments and Matters Raised by Members at meeting
5.1. Comments from Andrew Needham CPRE:
- CPRE officially support HS2 but many members are against it.
- CPRE are present at high level meetings with HS2 Ltd and the Government
- The next phase in fight against HS2 is the Petitions to the HS2 Phase 1 Hybrid Bill currently before parliament. The government committee is evaluating the petitions and then decide whether to adapt the HS2 proposal or fight the changes proposed in the petitions. HS2 Phase 1 was rerouted as a result of petitions. Andrew Needham was asked to email copy of CPRE petition to MCAHS2
- He had attended a HS2 presentation by Brendan Gallagher at Northwich Rotary Club. RT suggested that MCAHS2 invite local HS2 reps to give local presentations, and that MCAHS2 offers to give presentations to Rotary Clubs and similar based on the paper on the Engineering and Terotechnology challenges of HS2
- According to the Brine Compensation Board ground subsidence in mid Cheshire was no longer related to industrial extraction. RT commented that increased rainfall and hence fluctuations in the water table appeared to be enhancing natural salt solution and related ground instability both within and outside the compensation area of subsidence defined by the Brine Compensation Board.
- The Birmingham to Crewe HS2 section could go into Phase 1 – HS2 have said they will make an announcement later in the year and would have to have another Act of Parliament.
- The proposed new Crewe Station at Basford is very likely to be developed as Cheshire East Council Leader Mike Jones had given approval for the Crewe Green A550 road link. Josh assistant to Steve O’Brien MP for Eddisbury is trying to find out what Network Rail has said about new station at Crewe – it is rumoured that Network Rail is not very keen on it.
5.2. Comments from Mike Slater:
- MS noted at the meeting held with HS2 engineers in January with residents HS2 said that they had not made any consideration of the sub surface ground conditions and were not allowed to investigate until the end of the consultation assessment period
- RT commented that the HS2 investigations and selection of route in their published engineering documents to date are based on desk study only and no on-site ground investigations have been carried out
- MS asked members to pass on details of any ground subsidence potholes and related feature to MCAHS2
- Phil Smallwood of Greenheyes Farm reported that the road had been repaired in many places adjacent to the large subsidence depression on his land
5.3. Comments from Richard Hague of Bank Farm, Bostock:
- The ground stability beneath his property is of concern as he is already experiencing noise and vibrations from the new driveage of the salt mine at shallow depth that goes south from the existing mine workings as an extension towards Middlewich. The HS2 route passes over this active area of the salt mine and the extension.
- RH noted the public apathy to HS2 and suggested raising the profile by sending in photographs of Cheshire countryside affected by HS2 to Cheshire Life magazine GE noted that countryside photos had big impact on MCAHS2 social media sites.
5.4. Comments from Wayne Ranger:
- Young people involvement with HS2 very important as their arguments for and against HS2 very different from those of older people
- The country has failed to redress the national debt – of concern to future generations. Is it wise to invest £40bn – £50bn-£80bn of UK money into HS2?
- The economic arguments need to be put forward to the younger generation and what will the impact be when they are 30 to 40 year olds
- GD noted WR comments as very valid points and suggested Philip Lund and other MCAHS2 committee members could follow up this aspect under headings of Economy, Environment, Employment
- GE noted that environmentally HS2 was not carbon neutral and would add to carbon emissions for 80 years. Environmental impact on farming was large due to the land take
- GE noted that in demographic surveys of virews on HS2 the young below 30 age group were against HS2, the 35 to 45 group were for HS2
5.4 Comments from Mike (Rocky) Coultas
- Nationally how many farms will be put out of business as a result of HS2 cutting through their farm land, severing and restricting access? GD reported that John Keleher had estimated that there was c 30,000 acres of agricultural land affected by HS2 in Cheshire.
- MC noted that fracking would have 20% of the environmental impact that HS2 would have
5.5. Comments from Bryan Jones of Birch Lane Stanthorne:
- Vacant Property blight on line of HS2. The property opposite his house has been bought by HS2 Ltd and is managed by Vacant Property Services, but is becoming overgrown, an eyesore and hence a possible target for miscreants. RT reported a similar property next to her in Lostock Green that had been bought by HS2 Ltd. Also two empty farms in Lostock Green that were owned by INEOS which have planning permission but the developer has pulled out because of HS2 and now the properties are falling into disrepair.
This evidence of the start of the impact of HS2 blight is a possible subject for a press article from MCAHS2.
5.6 Comments from Phil Smallwood Greenheyes Farm, Stanthorne
- PS offered the use of his farm and building for MCAHS2 events
- Must get HS2 prominent in the public eye from now up to the 2015 election and be more assertive in anti HS2 campaign
- Anti HS2 campaign likely to be a long haul; HS2 Phase 1 been going on 4 years
- Push the fact that the three main parties want to spend money on HS2 and challenge MPs on cost of HS2 and support for HS2 will bring about a protest vote
- GE noted that support by MPs for HS2 was coming from the top of the parties downwards and MPs were being whipped to vote for HS2
- MCAHS2 must remain apolitical. GD noted that national action groups were starting to question whether to be apolitical
- Emphasise dissatisfaction with politicians
- Need to target local Cheshire MPs
- Leaflet communities as election approaches
- Talk to prospective parliamentary candidate e.g. Julia Tickridge in Graham Evans Weaver Vale Constituency
- Mike Slater suggested that MCAHS2 put forward anti HS2 candidates in Cheshire
6. Any Other Business
- Date of next MCAHS2 committee meting Wednesday 25th June 2014 7.00pm
- Venue Chris Triffit’s house
- GD will invite Bill Armstrong from Holmes Chapel to attend.
- GD on behalf of MCAHS2 thanked all those members present for attending the first AGM.
- There being no other business the meeting closed at 21.45 hrs
Signed as true record of meeting
Meeting Secretary 10 June 2014
MCAHS2 Members present at meeting
5 MCAHS2 Committee Members April 2013 June 2014
Geoff Edwards – Deputy Chair
Graham Dellow – Secretary
Chris Triffit – Treasurer
Ros Todhunter – Meeting Secretary
21 Other Members
R M Hague
Andrew Needham CPRE
10th April 2013 inaugural meeting of Mid Cheshire Against HS2 held in the Village Rooms, Lostock Green Methodist Church CW9 7SN
HS2 Planning Meeting for STOP HS2, Action Group
Wednesday 10th April 2013
Ros Todhunter chaired the meeting, with support from Graham Dellow. Guest speaker Joe Rukin from STOP HS2.
Ros welcomed everyone to the Village Room, Lostock Green Methodist Church. The purpose of the meeting was to form an action group for the area between High Legh and Wimboldsley.
Communities represented; Lostock Green, Whatcroft, Pickmere, Lach Dennis (including Pennys Lane), Stanthorne, Wimboldsley and Wincham,
Mid Cheshire UKIP branch (offering support and admin.)
Joe Rukin offered advice on what our action group need to be doing
1. Informing the community with regard to HS2 phase 2, i.e stalls (Cheshire Show, market days), leaflet drops, via the media (do walks of HS2 phase 2 route – inform the press/local radio, t.v.), constantly lobbying the Council.
3. How often the group should meet
Above all we must WORK TOGETHER, the primary aim is to
1. Stop HS2.
2. Mitigate it. – The salt mines in our area, will not have been taken into consideration when drawing up the HS2 phase 2 route.
3. Compensate – The Exceptional Hardship Scheme, we must lobby for the best compensation deal to fully compensate for the blight
of HS2 .
Ros asked for volunteers for an action group. The following offered their time;
Ros Todhunter – representing Lostock Green
Graham and Lisette Dellow – representing Whatcroft
Andrea Lucas – representing Whatcroft
Melanie Bishop – representing Whatcroft
Ewen Simpson – representing Whatcroft
Wendy Bower – representing Pennys Lane
Chris Wilson – representing Plumley and Toft
Geoff Edwards – representing Stanthorne
Leanne Mountford – representing Stanthorne
Chris Triffit – representing Stanthorne and Wimboldsley
Keith Bower and Roger Shaw have also kindly offered their time when work permits.
It was also suggested that we should include a Parish Councillor to join our group. The Parish’s of Wincham, Lostock Gralam, Lach Dennis, Plumley, Pickmere, Davenham, Shakerley Ward, Winsford and Wharton, Tabley, Wimboldsley should be contacted for representation.
Chris Watkin of UKIP volunteered to contact the local farming community.
Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and local wildlife communities should also be contacted.
Andrew Shaw, Chairman of Pickmere Parish Council, informed us that he had set up a cluster group of Parish Councils that objected to HS2. The group will have a meeting with George Osborne on April 26th. The group have also taken a stand in the Cheshire Show.
UKIP will also have a stand at the Cheshire Show, some of which will be devoted to the stop HS2 campaign.
The Exceptional Hardship Scheme – the consultation which asks for your views on the Government’s proposal to introduce an Exceptional Hardship Scheme for phase 2 – ends on April 29th, 2013.
Many people complained about the lack of information on this, from their Parish Council, Councillors and our Members of Parliament.
Wayne left some 25 consultation forms for people to take.
The consultation can also be filled in online. More information on hs2aa.com
Next meeting: The Village Room
Lostock Green Methodist Church
Wednesday 17th April 2013 at 8.00pm
NB Please note this is a change of venue to that agreed at the meeting. There is a cost to this room, please could everyone contribute £1 on the evening.
Appendix 3 Balance Sheet for year ending 04 June 2014