HS2 firm accused of 'culture of misinformation'


A culture of "misinformation" runs through the company behind the planned high speed rail link between London and the north, a Commons committee has said. 

MPs accused of HS2 Ltd of treating consultations about the controversial route as a box-ticking exercise and warned it will continue to face claims it has a "complete disregard" for the public unless it changes.

The parliamentary ombudsman last year criticised the organisation for a "catalogue of errors" in its dealings with residents facing relocation from a hamlet in Staffordshire, and nearly 1,600 petitions from members of the public have been submitted calling for changes to phase one of the scheme.

MPs said there had been some improvements in how the company deals with residents but they were unconvinced that the "fundamental" reforms needed had been made.

Transport chiefs must understand that "first and foremost they serve the public", the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee added.

Committee chairman Bernard Jenkin said: "There is still a culture of defensive communication and misinformation within this public body and that is not acceptable.

"Unless those responsible for delivering HS2 understand that first and foremost they serve the public, they will continue to be criticised for having complete disregard for the people, some of them vulnerable, who are impacted by this large-scale infrastructure project."