Briefing about problems with the high speed rail consultation and further commissioned analysis.
On 10 January this year, I made a statement to the House announcing my decision to take forward proposals for a national high speed rail network following the completion of a major public consultation exercise.
On 29 May, the consultation responses were made available on-line. Subsequently, when it became clear that a small number of responses had not been published, my department and HS2 Ltd reviewed how the consultation responses had been processed.
This review identified that 413 responses, amounting to less than one per cent of the 55,322 responses received in total, had not been included in the part of the consultation response assessment carried out by the government’s independent response analysis consultants, Dialogue by Design. The results of this analysis were summarised in their report published alongside my announcement of 10 January (High Speed Rail: Investing in Britain’s Future - consultation summary report). This report formed just one of the elements supporting my decisions, alongside other evidence including analysis of issues raised in consultation responses carried out by my department and HS2 Ltd, as well as engagement with the public, MPs and other stakeholders through roadshow events, seminars, visits and meetings.
Of the 413 responses identified, six had been incorrectly marked as duplicates by Dialogue by Design. The remaining 407 were amongst those sent in by email to my department rather than via the direct channels set out in the consultation document and were unintentionally not forwarded to Dialogue by Design for analysis.
My department commissioned a supplementary analysis from Dialogue by Design which concluded that these responses “do not provide any information that was not already included in the previous consultation summary report or would have made a difference to the substantive content or balance of that report”. Inclusion in the original analysis would not have changed the substance of Dialogue by Design’s findings, nor affected the considerations which informed me in taking my decisions following the consultation.
All affected respondents will be contacted with these details.