HS2 – Winning support for high speed rail

Public Affairs

Brief

Initial high-speed rail proposals attracted opponents concerned about the carbon footprint, damage to areas of outstanding beauty and dissident rail experts advocating alternative plans including some ideologically opposed to ‘grand projects’.

Ministers and civil servants were legally constrained from comment, and support amongst civic and business groups was undeveloped. Against this backdrop, we were enlisted to secure the second reading for the High-Speed Rail Bill in Parliament.

Strategy and execution

We created an alliance of 1,000 third-party advocates, including SMEs, large employers, economists, trade unions, MPs and regional pro-HS2 campaigns, and worked with MPs to help form a new All-Party Parliamentary Group which launched an inquiry into the viability of alternatives to HS2.

We also generated a series of positive stories by launching an energetic campaign press operation supported by on-the-ground events such as the “Yes for Jobs” national bus tour.

Results

We secured a second reading of the HS2 Hybrid Bill.