Agenda item

High Speed Rail 2 - Lobbying Strategy

(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Dowding)


Report of Director for Economic Growth and Regeneration


(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Dowding)


Cabinet received a report from the Director for Economic Growth & Regeneration to endorse the City Council’s 2021-22 strategy in respect of the High Speed Rail 2 Project.  Whilst the report was public it contained exempt appendices and the Chair advised the meeting to be mindful of the information within the exempt appendices during the course of the discussion in order to avoid having to go into private session.


The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:


Option 1: Agree the strategy appended to the report

 Advantages: The strategy is considered the most effective way in which to state the case for a Lancaster call for London-bound HS2 services.

Disadvantages: None – highlighting Lancaster’s case is considered an appropriate and responsible course of action.

Risks: There are no identifiable risks in terms of arguing Lancaster’s position.


 Option 2: Not agree the strategy appended to the report

Advantages: None that are apparent – it is possible that the future Train Service Specification may deliver Lancaster stopping services without direct input from the City Council, but this is a risk.

Disadvantages: Without a cohesive strategy, there is a risk that Lancaster’s case for direct London services is ineffective or is not heard at all.

Risks: Not agreeing the strategy would potentially allow a draft Train Service Specification to be published without City Council input.


The officer preferred option is Option 1. There are compelling economic, environmental and social reasons why Lancaster should continue to be served by direct London trains. By agreeing and implementing the strategy, the City Council is continuing to be proactive in terms of influencing the debate regarding future HS2 service provision.


Councillor Dowding proposed, seconded by Councillor Hamilton-Cox:-


“That the recommendations, as set out in the report, be approved.”


Councillors then voted:-


Resolved unanimously:


(1)             That Cabinet agrees the exempt Strategy appended to the report.


(2)                       That Cabinet agrees that Officers may pursue any legitimate, additional opportunities for lobbying or other similar activities that will enable the Council to advance Lancaster’s case, in accordance with the existing project budget.


(3)                         That in the event that any future additional work (beyond the current budget) is considered necessary, such as further engagement of consultants to assist with advancing Lancaster’s case, a further report shall be brought to Cabinet to determine whether to agree to resource the additional work.


Officer responsible for effecting the decision:


Director for Economic Growth & Regeneration


Reasons for making the decision:


By agreeing to the Lobbying Strategy, the Council will be achieving several of its’ Corporate Priorities identified in the 2020 Update. In particular, it will be taking action to meet the challenges of the climate emergency by helping to continue the transition to an accessible, inclusive and low-carbon transport systems. It will also be supporting Lancaster’s status as a major city on the West Coast Mainline network, which help to secure investment and regeneration across the Lancaster District. The retention of direct London-bound services will help serve the needs of our local residents, organisations and businesses. The Lancaster District Local Plan includes policies which seek to maximise the opportunities provided by Lancaster’s location on the main strategic rail network and improve transport connectivity.


Supporting documents: