Creating a new HS2 campaign for a local government partnership

At a glance

Freshwater developed a new campaign, HS2 East, to help local authorities and business groups along the route of HS2 between Birmingham and Leeds communicate why the full, and timely, delivery of infrastructure was vital to unlock £4.2bn for the region’s economy.

Using a range of tactics, we were able to create a campaign which brought together different groups to present a united front in favour of HS2.



HS2 East into a public-facing campaign for the first time


a suite of infographics to explain the full national and regional benefit of the infrastructure


goal of the government committing to deliver the railway line


Freshwater was successful in a competitive tender process to provide integrated public affairs services to the HS2 East Partnership. The partnership was formed of a coalition of councils, combined authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships and Chambers of Commerce located along and beyond the route of the Eastern Leg of HS2 Phase 2, between Leeds and Birmingham.

Our brief was to help them make a more assertive case for why the delivery of that infrastructure was a strategic priority for the economic future of a region of 15 million people spanning the Midlands, Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland.

In the second phase, Freshwater was required to help the partnership to deliver a campaign which articulated its support for an HS2 link to Scotland via the North East.


Freshwater established a new public face for the campaign through the creation of a new logo and strapline, Connectivity, Productivity, Growth, and the development of a website hosting key messages, statistics and case studies.

This enabled the partnership to engage more assertively with its audiences and provided an owned channel to promote campaign collateral, including a suite of infographics which distilled the technical business case into a set of powerful facts, figures and key messages.

The infographics were also used to support high-level meetings with HS2 Ltd and government ministers as evidence of the region’s collective ambition, while parallel engagement activity secured the public endorsement of more than a dozen business leaders.

This was combined with an intensive letter-writing programme which introduced the new campaign and its key messages to MPs, ministers and peers identified through stakeholder mapping.

Freshwater’s public affairs specialists led a programme of political engagement during the 2016 party conference season, resulting in meetings with shadow ministers and key MPs, and secured a speaking platform at a Conservative Party Conference fringe meeting for the leader of York City Council.


In keynote speeches during the project period, the government confirmed its commitment to deliver the Eastern Leg and published its West Midlands to Leeds route plan. In July 2017 the transport secretary confirmed the final Phase 2b route and the hybrid bill is expected in 2020.



HS2 East Partnership

Related services

    • Public Affairs
    • Design
    • Brand Strategy
    • Web Development


    • Transport
    • Public Sector


April 2015 - August 2016