HS2: Advice for those preparing to speak before the Select Committee
Everyone who is directly affected by and also petitioned on the HS2 Bill will have the opportunity to present their arguments before a Select Committee of MPs.
You will also be able to speak if you are directly affected and choose to petition on Additional Provision 3 (AP3), the amendment to the Bill which will set out the Government’s latest plans for Euston, when that is lodged in September.
We expect all of Camden’s petitioners to be called to speak towards the end of 2015.
We will shortly be announcing how we will support residents and businesses during the upcoming petitioning process and to prepare for their Select Committee appearance.
In the meantime, we have collated some advice given by the Select Committee and petitioners living further up the line who have already had their say on how to make a good impression.
Here are our top tips:
Form groups: Petitioners who form groups to share issues between them will avoid repetition, keep credibility and give individual colour to their case.
The Select Committee have themselves put Buckinghamshire’s petitioners – due to appear in September and October 2015 – into groups where they feel they are likely to make similar points. A similar arrangement is likely to happen in Camden too.
However, the categories are not mandatory and petitioners can join up with other petitioners if they feel this will help their case.
Describe the problem but suggest a solution: Start your presentation with your list of asks from the Committee – what you want the Select Committee to do – so that they know where you are heading when you give your presentation
Take the Committee succinctly through the local context, what is planned to happen and what you think should happen instead with a small number of carefully selected slides.
A good model to follow is:
- What is the problem?
- Why is it a problem?
- What do you want done to solve the problem?
“I endorse what has been said by the residents’ association. My particular issue is X which affects me because of Y, and here is a photograph to show you what I mean. I would like HS2 to do Z. That is my case.”
Keep your case to a short time period: Only the most complex cases will benefit from a long presentation. The Committee has said that it does not take long for them to understand the point. Reading out long prepared statements should be avoided. Very large amounts of written evidence are also not helpful.
Include visuals in your presentation, like photos or maps or pictures to support your case. This makes it more interesting for Select Committee.
Repeat points already made: It is crucial for petitioners who wish to make an impact on the Committee to avoid repeating points already made by others in the same area. That is assisted if petitioners view previous sessions and are present in the committee room throughout the day on which they are due to appear.
Refer to World Health Organisation guidelines when making points about noise: The select committee has said they would prefer petitioners to make comparisons with HS1 or give actual measures or estimates.
Camden Council opposes plans for HS2 as currently proposed. If the government does go ahead with the scheme, Camden is committed to securing the best deal for our communities. Find out more here.