Respond to the Phase 2 HS2 consultation TODAY!

The HS2 Phase 2 Consultation closes at 5pm TODAY (Friday 31st January 2014).

Unfortunately it is now to late to respond, but below is our suggested text.

 

NAME:

POSTCODE:

Opening Statement. 

In making this response, I wish to express the strongest possible objection to the principle of HS2. I find it quite shocking that communities affected by Phase 2 of HS2 are not being asked whether they agree with HS2 in principle. When Phase 1 were consulted in 2011, the vast majority of respondents opposed HS2 in principle, with over 90% of respondents disagreeing with 4 of the 7 questions.  Opposition to HS2 has significantly increased since then. It is completely undemocratic not to give people and communities affected by HS2 the opportunity to express whether they agree with the fundamental idea of HS2 in this consultation. Now more people know more about what HS2 actually represents, more and more people are opposing the whole idea, and communities and individuals affected by Phase 2 of HS2 have been completely disenfranchised.

I believe that the HS2 proposals are not the product of an assessment of what is best for the transport infrastructure of the UK, and that plans should be immediately halted until that assessment has taken place. There is no clear justification for HS2, it has an absolutely terrible businesses case, it would be massively damaging to the natural environment and communities, it would not redistribute wealth or bridge the north/south divide, but instead widen these divisions within our society, it would not provide rail capacity where it is actually needed, and I have no confidence that it would be built on time or within budget, especially given the fact that HS2 Ltd are still working on 2011 costs.

HS2 is a 19th Century solution being proposed for a 21st century economy, and I believe that cheaper, less glamorous investments need to be prioritised within the UK rail infrastructure. Alternatives would deliver more benefits to more people more quickly. It is also clear that to build an economy fit for our digital age, more investment is required in the digital revolution, which would lead to wider connectivity, sustainability, growth and greater prosperity.

 

Question 1

Do you agree or disagree with the Government’s proposed route between the West Midlands and Manchester as described in Chapter 7

This includes the proposed route alignment, the location of tunnels, ventilation shaft, cuttings, viaducts and depots as well as how the high speed line will connect to the West Coast Main Line.

I disagree completely with the proposed route and the principle of HS2. I believe that HS2 should be cancelled, and would not support any route.

The complete lack of detail, poor knowledge of constraints along the proposed routes, and cavalier attitude to the destruction of communities and natural and cultural heritage which are displayed in the plans for this section of the route are symptomatic of the way in which HS2 is being rushed through without proper consideration.

There have been incomplete noise assessments, despite the fact it is admitted in areas that HS2 would “Greatly affect the landscape character of the area . . . noise impacts are predicted”. HS2 is unnecessarily intrusive in many locations, creating unacceptable noise levels and visual intrusion which has not been adequately assessed, but would exceed World Health Organisation (WHO) guide lines for noise, precipitating sleep deprivation and ill-health.

The visual and noise impacts of what is proposed are completely unsuitable, and seem to represent the least cost option, with no regard made to the real-world impacts borne in destroy tranquil rural communities, habitats, and sites important to wildlife and heritage.

No real assessments of these have been made, along with the reduction in bio diversity which would result due to destruction of habitats and wildlife corridors.

Impacts on flooding, farming, tourism, drainage, mining rights, former mining areas, current underground extraction and storage, including ground instability and the potential for ground collapse, as well as property blight and the impact on current rail and road traffic flows due to the construction of HS2 all seem to be ignored by the current assessment of this route, and I wish to make it clear that I believe the impact on all of those, and the previously outlined issues would be exceptionally serious if HS2 goes ahead and had been severely underestimated at best, completely ignored at worst.

 

Question 2

Do you agree or disagree with the Government’s proposals for: 

a. A Manchester station at Manchester Piccadilly as described in Chapter 7 (sections 7.8.1 – 7.8.7)?

b. An additional station near Manchester Airport as described in Chapter 7 (sections 7.6.1 – 7.6.6)?

The proposal for HS2 to have a station at Manchester Piccadilly looks like an unmitigated disaster which has not been properly planned for. If that is unclear, I disagree with it. It would be great to provide extra capacity at Piccadilly, but the full (not the currently approved watered down) version of the Northern Hub plans, with attention paid to the 51m proposals and the idea to reopen the Woodhead route would be the way to do that. HS2 is not. I believe it is fraudulent for this consultation to suggest an HS2 interchange at Piccadilly without explaining what this would mean, in terms of years of disruption, not only at the station itself, but on many outlying services, both in terms of the tracks and stations which would be impacted by any such development.

One of the other reasons for disagreeing for developments as a result of HS2 at Piccadilly is the fact that Manchester City Council have been reported to support a redevelopment of this station due to HS2, stating this would cost “At least ten figures” without saying this would come from, when it clearly does not come from the current HS2 budget. What is more urgently needed is a high speed line offering connectivity for passengers and freight travelling east/west between Hull, Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Warrington and Liverpool.  We hope this might be pursued.

The proposal to have an additional HS2 station at Manchester Airport is ludicrous. It flies in the face of all the proposed ‘benefits’ from having high speed rail, which suggest that intermediate stations are an inconvenience. . If that is unclear, I disagree with it. An additional HS2 station at Manchester Airport could only serve to conflict with the Climate Change Act (as I would contend HS2 altogether does), and facilitate unnecessary and unneeded development in the green belt around the airport.

With regard to all proposed HS2 stations, additional or otherwise, the most important thing which everyone needs to know is whether or not the local communities will have to pay for them or not, especially given that the majority of funding for Crossrail in London came not from the DfT, but from supplements from local businesses and the passenger transport executive.

To make this exceptionally clear, I disagree with the idea that there should be a HS2 station at Manchester Piccadilly and I disagree with the idea that there should be a HS2 station at Manchester Airport.

 

Question 3

Do you think that there should be any additional stations on the western leg between the West Midlands and Manchester?

I do not believe there should be any HS2 stations anywhere, let alone any additional ones. It is clear to me that the Government has tried to pull a fast one with ‘potential stations’ on Phase 2. In that instead of having local authorities opposing HS2, they have been fighting each other for stations which will never happen.

In that respect, I am not going to mention a railway town which has been promised 30% more jobs than it has inhabitants, or a city which is still an amalgam of pottery towns that still hasn’t quite worked, because mentioning those names in this answer will tick a box for the overpaid company which only assesses these responses on key words.

If that answer is not clear, no there should not be additional stations, because there should be nothing to add them too.

With regard to all proposed HS2 stations, additional or otherwise, the most important thing which everyone needs to know is whether or not the local communities will have to pay for them or not, especially given that the majority of funding for Crossrail in London came not from the DfT, but from supplements from local businesses and the passenger transport executive.

 

Question 4

Do you agree or disagree with the Government’s proposed route between West Midlands and Leeds as described in Chapter 8?

This includes the proposed route alignment, the location of tunnels, ventilation shaft, cuttings, viaducts and depots as well as how the high speed line will connect to the East Coast Main Line.

I disagree completely with the proposed route and the principle of HS2. I believe that HS2 should be cancelled, and would not support any route.

The complete lack of detail, poor knowledge of constraints along the proposed routes, and cavalier attitude to the destruction of communities and natural and cultural heritage which are displayed in the plans for this section of the route are symptomatic of the way in which HS2 is being rushed through without proper consideration.

There have been incomplete noise assessments, despite the fact it is admitted in areas that HS2 would “Greatly affect the landscape character of the area . . . noise impacts are predicted”. HS2 is unnecessarily intrusive in many locations, creating unacceptable noise levels and visual intrusion which has not been adequately assessed, but would exceed World Health Organisation (WHO) guide lines for noise, precipitating sleep deprivation and ill-health.

The visual and noise impacts of what is proposed are completely unsuitable, and seem to represent the least cost option, with no regard made to the real-world impacts borne in destroy tranquil rural communities, habitats, and sites important to wildlife and heritage.

No real assessments of these have been made, along with the reduction in bio diversity which would result due to destruction of habitats and wildlife corridors.

Impacts on flooding, farming, tourism, drainage, mining rights, former mining areas, current underground extraction and storage, including ground instability and the potential for ground collapse, as well as property blight and the impact on current rail and road traffic flows due to the construction of HS2 all seem to be ignored by the current assessment of this route, and I wish to make it clear that I believe the impact on all of those, and the previously outlined issues would be exceptionally serious if HS2 goes ahead and had been severely underestimated at best, completely ignored at worst.

 

Question 5

Do you agree or disagree with the Government’s proposals for:

a. A Leeds station at Leeds New Lane as described in Chapter 8 (sections 8.8.1 – 8.8.5)?

b. A South Yorkshire station to be located at Sheffield Meadowhall as described in Chapter 8 (sections 8.5.1 – 8.5.8)?

c. An East Midlands station to be located at Toton as described in Chapter 8 (sections 8.3.1 – 8.3.6)?

I disagree with all three of these stations, as they would all bring little benefit to the surrounding area and provide connectivity problems. It seems utter absurd to be building new stations which are not integrated properly into the existing network and are not actually located where passengers actually want to go. In the case of all of these stations, the supposed benefits of high speed rail (i.e. faster journey times) will immediately be lost because passengers will not easily be able to connect to complete onward journeys.

I believe it is fraudulent for this consultation to suggest these stations without explaining what this would mean, in terms of years of disruption, to other rail services and roads around the proposed sites.

Another reason for disagreeing with these stations is that it is not clear who would have to pay for them. What is more urgently needed is a high speed line offering connectivity for passengers and freight travelling east/west between Hull, Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Warrington and Liverpool.  We hope this might be pursued.

 With regard to all proposed HS2 stations, additional or otherwise, the most important thing which everyone needs to know is whether or not the local communities will have to pay for them or not, especially given that the majority of funding for Crossrail in London came not from the DfT, but from supplements from local businesses and the passenger transport executive.

 

Question 6

Do you think that there should be any additional stations on the eastern leg between the West Midlands and Leeds?

I do not believe there should be any HS2 stations anywhere, let alone any additional ones. It is clear to me that the Government has tried to pull a fast one with ‘potential stations’ on Phase 2. In that instead of having local authorities opposing HS2, they have been fighting each other for stations which will never happen.

If that answer is not clear, no there should not be additional stations, because there should be nothing to add them too.

With regard to all proposed HS2 stations, additional or otherwise, the most important thing which everyone needs to know is whether or not the local communities will have to pay for them or not, especially given that the majority of funding for Crossrail in London came not from the DfT, but from supplements from local businesses and the passenger transport executive.

 

Question 7

Please let us know your comments on the Appraisal of Sustainability (as reported in the Sustainability Statement) of the Government’s proposed Phase Two route, including the alternatives to the proposed route as described in Chapter 9.

I fundamentally disagree with the Appraisal of Sustainability and find the appraisal biased and flawed. The proposal fails to meet appropriate environmental standards and as an example would lead to the loss and damage of at least 35 ancient woods. These sites represent an irreplaceable habitat that public policy aims to protect.

There is a distinct lack of information regarding the alternative routes that were considered, particularly in relation to their potential environmental impacts. This makes it impossible to offer a considered opinion as to the merits of the proposed Phase 2 routes under current consultation in comparison to possible alternates. Conclusions within this consultation that building a high speed rail line through the middle of a number of ancient woods would only have a moderate adverse effect is both unacceptable and contradictory to previous communications.

The Appraisal of Sustainability is wholly inadequate for a project of this magnitude and complexity. Statements are woolly, lacking evidence and in many cases factually incorrect. The sustainability statement does not say what weighting has been given to the various factors it considers. We believe that higher priority should be given to people, homes and communities. The wrong priority has been given and this should be reassessed.

The Sustainability Appraisal in the section on Climate Change states that HS2 “would be supporting a low carbon economy”. This is known to be an untrue statement and should be removed from the appraisal. The full carbon costs of construction should be included in this appraisal, and there is no reference as to how the necessary electricity would be generated, so therefore it this statement is deliberately misleading and should be removed.

The Sustainability Appraisal says that ‘landscape mitigation’ is a key ‘focus’ but many aspects of the proposals make landscape mitigation impossible. Routes which include long viaducts over open countryside should not be considered.

The appraisal is totally inadequate for a project of this magnitude. It plays down the devastating impact this project would have on people, communities, landscape, heritage, wildlife & ecology.

No real assessments of these have been made, along with the reduction in bio diversity which would result due to destruction of habitats and wildlife corridors.

Impacts on flooding, farming, tourism, drainage, mining rights, former mining areas, current underground extraction and storage, including ground instability and the potential for ground collapse, as well as property blight and the impact on current rail and road traffic flows due to the construction of HS2 all seem to be ignored by the current assessment of this route, and I wish to make it clear that I believe the impact on all of those, and the previously outlined issues would be exceptionally serious if HS2 goes ahead and had been severely underestimated at best, completely ignored at worst.

 

Question 8

Please let us know your comments on how the capacity that would be freed up on the existing rail network by the introduction of the proposed Phase Two route could be used as described in Chapter 10.

This question is biased. There is no evidence that there is a need to “free up” capacity, or that capacity will be “freed up” as a result of HS2. The reality is that any talking of “freeing up capacity” could only equal “losing the trains you already have” for many stations, especially those in cities and towns not served by HS2.

The notion of “freed up capacity” simply by virtue of creating HS2 is an illusion. It assumes that all or most of the current WCML travellers’ needs will be met by HS2, which is a non-stop intercity service.  However, with no intermediate stations on the HS2 route, passengers who now travel intermediate journeys to destinations between the HS2 cities, especially commuters, will be unable to access HS2 and will be forced to use diminishing services on the existing rail lines.

It remains to be proven whether HS2 will free up any capacity on the existing networks. If existing Intercity trains serving towns and cities not served by HS2 are not to be affected, no spare capacity will be released. A high speed rail service for a very small number of people is likely to have any impact without slashing existing intercity services.

 

Question 9

Please let us know your comments on the introduction of other utilities along the proposed Phase Two Route as described in Chapter 11.

It would be unacceptable to widen the footprint of the line to accommodate utility services. Successive governments have failed to draw up a cohesive policy for utility networks. High speed broadband is a typical example. 

I disagree with the Government’s/HS2Ltd’s analysis of any opportunities. It uses specious “opportunities” to try to justify flawed and unwanted HS2. The idea that HS2 could be used for utilities completely ignores the shortcomings in the current utility network. There are great utility connections between major cities, it is the rural network where the need for investment is required. In that respect, it is likely that an utility investment which would accompany HS2 would starve the areas which actually need upgraded services of that investment.

 

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5 comments on “Respond to the Phase 2 HS2 consultation TODAY!
  1. Going back to when trains started one hundred years ago if you spoke out of term with the government about there rail project they would have sent you to Australia .I wish they would still be doing that now speaking out about hs2 our home is now worthless they claim it is for the good of the country but they have not the balls to make the true facts be known to the public hiding behind there desks

    • You have every reason, J.D. to feel both upset and angry, if you or your house is under threat.

      However, your comment about transportation to Australia, is wide of the mark.

      “…a hundred years ago…”would be the early 20th century, by which time the railway network, which had begun in the 1820s, ’30s and 40s, was largely complete, while the governments played little or no part in planning routes, still less in promoting railways..

      If capital could be raised and at least some of the land secured, then the parliamentary bill would eventually be granted, but it was individuals, not governments who pushed for the lines to be built.

      In fact, so opposed were they to monopolies, that governments permitted the competing companies to build rival, duplicate routes, but at the same time imposing all kinds of regulation which increased costs and threatened the survival of the private companies.

      This was in contrast to many other countries where considerations of military and imperial control involved their governments at a much earlier stage .and probably made for less wasteful duplication.

      Later, when industry changed, for example when mining declined in South Wales, many of these duplicate lines then became unaffordable and this led to line closures and loss of services sometimes on a seemingly random basis even before Beeching and his attempt to ‘reshape’. Some large and growing towns which ppreviously had access to two or three stations on rival routes then found themselves wih none at all.

      Vital in two world wars and at those times being under considerable government control (and largely worn out in the process) , perhaps more, rather than less involvement by government at an earlier stage in this country’s railway development,would have been in the national interest.

  2. Pingback: STOP HS2 | Route Consultation Phase 2 – deadline Friday 31st January

  3. I should have realised from the first “consultation” that libdem.con.gov.4now.uk would not make it easy to express any objection to the whole project. Finally getting round to completing the “consultation”, I find it is even worse than anticipated, requiring the document to be completed in a single pass. While I do not need your responses, the layout does help and I hope I will beat the deadline.

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