Alastair Lewis’ top tips for petitioners
CAMPAIGNERS have been given advice on how to be as effective as possible when they appear before a committee of MPs who will decide on the amount of mitigation in Bucks when HS2 is built.
A summit was held in Aylesbury on Wednesday, last week, at which protesters were told about the forthcoming visit by the select committee, which is made up of MPs from different parties.
They will come to the county in the next few months to see at first hand the effect that HS2 will have on the key areas.
After that, people who have written petitions will be invited to appear before the committee in Westminster to make their cases, which, if successful, could have an effect on Avoid repetition Don’t waffle Do not show aggression to HS2 Ltd or the committee
Don’t pull any rabbits out of the hat
Do not come up with any new technical or engineering solutions Do not be late Make sure presentations are concise, with a clear delivery of the key points
Pick your battles carefully the Hybrid Bill, which will give permission for work to begin on the first phase of the line.
At the summit, people heard from Alastair Lewis, of legal firm Sharpe Pritchard, who is advising Bucks County Council on the process.
He said: “The committee will be impressed with a concise delivery of key points, as well as joint presentations. They don’t want to hear the same points over and over again from lots of different people, so if you can club together with other people, and have one person delivering the presentation, they will appreciate that.
“You will still count as having appeared, and they will be pleased that you have been part of a joint presentation.”
Mr Lewis also advised protesters to make sure that they do not challenge the concept of HS2, and to concentrate more on explaining to the committee how they will be affected.
HS2 Action Alliance leader Hilary Wharf also spoke, and advised of the importance about being certain that each of presentations is different and memorable, as well making sure that they are short, sweet and upbeat.
Bucks County Council leader Martin Tett spoke about what he expected from the committee’s visit to Bucks, and the preparations that are being made.
He said: “We need to portray ourselves at our best when they visit. We need to be rational and professional. We will not get long with them, and so we will need to show them the places which are the most affected; we won’t get time to show them everything.
“It’s also important that we don’t exaggerate anything. If we do that, it will completely destroy our argument.”