Last Friday, Joe Rukin set off from Curzon Street to walk the north-east route of HS2. We’d kept the plans a bit quiet, in case he got to Day Three and decided he’d done enough. However, if you’ve subscribed to our mailing list, you will have read that he is now past Toton station, and in fact is across the River Trent.
Joe is keeping a video diary of his journey, and uploaded Day Four to our Youtube channel earlier:
In it he talks about capacity, which is once again the current argument for HS2. Whilst Joe talks about why building HS2 will not do much for releasing capacity, the Department for Transport has today announced the franchise winner for the West Coast Main Line, and also announced that there will be another 263 services a week from December 2022. This just proves a decade of arguments from HS2 are essentially hollow.
The other news is that Joe wrote an article for the Independent, which was published on Monday in their Independent Voices section: I have spent a decade fighting HS2, and the arguments to support it keep getting worse.
On Thursday, ITV Central broadcast a special programme ‘HS2: still on track’. Luckily for people outside the Central region, they’ve put it on youtube.
Along side Joe Rukin, Brent Poland from Erewash and the Wildlife Trusts and others affected by HS2, they also interviewed Mark Thurston and would have interviewed Grant Shapps, the new Secretary of State for Transport, except he declined the chance to talk about HS2.
Mark Thurston’s interview was notable for his refusal to say how much HS2 is expected to cost, even though he admitted being in talks with contractors on the cost since last year.
While proponents of HS2 try to pretend that the environmental impact of HS2 isn’t that big, Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin measures up exactly what the impact will be.
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After Rail Minister Nus Ghani had categorically told him that no HS2 staff have ever signed agreements with confidentiality clauses, Ivan Lewis MP was rather less than impressed when a written answer from her counterpart in the Lords, Baroness Vere, showed there have actually been 47.
Naturally, Lewis was not too impressed on this and on the day that parliament broke up for summer spoke about HS2 twice. First was to ask the Speaker what the procedure for getting Ghani back to explain why she misled parliament, and the second time he made it clear that the whistleblowing scandal at HS2 Ltd is not going away.
House of Lords, 24th July 2019. Tony Berkeley claims that parliament has been misled for at least three years and that the £86bn cost estimate for HS2 has been known for at least three years. Baroness Vere seems to claim that gagging former employees is standard practice at HS2 Ltd.