Mark Leftly: High Speed 2 is being too slow to argue its case

Mark Leftly
Friday 07 June 2013 00:43
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Outlook Sticking with trainspotting, a quick note on High Speed 2. The Independent titles have spent a long time closely examining this hugely controversial proposal that would revolutionise the rail network.

We have been particularly hot on issues regarding the fragility of what is already a staggeringly high £32.7bn budget and the possible impact on the countryside. This has pleased the many campaigners against HS2, though I should point out that I am largely convinced by the project's eventual economic benefits.

What has been remarkable is how well organised the campaigners have become.

While the team behind HS2 struggles to communicate how much this extra rail capacity is needed, the campaigners will be hosting at least 600 protesters in Staffordshire this month training them in how to see off the plans.

Sessions include "how to communicate with the press", "supporting farmers and landowners", and "social media for beginners". They've even got an online shop, which raises funds through the sale of hoodies, blouses, and flags. The campaign is clearly winning the argument.

HS2 Ltd must start fighting back with a more articulate message to defend what should be one of Britain's greatest ever feats of engineering.

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