The HS2 Phase 1 Hybrid Bill has now received Royal Assent on Thursday 23rd February.
Joe Rukin, Stop HS2 Campaign Manager responded:
“HS2 getting the go-ahead is a triumph of spin over evidence-based policy, as the construction industry who have lobbied hard and completely fabricated the case for HS2 get what they want, the right to build their own gravy train with taxpayers money. Over the years, we have seen the costs of HS2 spiral as HS2 Ltd staff, many of whom are on secondment from construction firms, have happily allowed those same firms to keep going over budget, and this will get worse and worse as they are allowed to run their own kleptocracy.”
“It is a sad indictment on modern day politics that we have won all the arguments on HS2, every poll has shown increasing public opposition to this white elephant, and all the independent reports from experts have labelled HS2 a boondoggle, but we are stuck with it because vested interest groups lobbied for it and created political momentum which made it too embarrassing to cancel. Quite simply this is a terrible project which will not deliver on it’s promises, come in years late, miles over budget, create havoc during construction and has disastrous environmental consequences. The fight against Phase 2 of HS2 will continue, but on Phase 1, as all these things come to pass, all we can look forward to is saying ‘We told you so’.”
Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2 added:
“The fundamental problem with HS2 is that the case for it has never been examined properly. So many times during the process of HS2 through Parliament, the government has said that the case will be examined later. And yet that has never actually happened.
“During the passage of the Bill there has been a huge growth in alternative ways of thinking about transport, just as we have been saying all along. Now the Department for Transport want technology firms like Google involved in HS2 to produce new ideas about the passenger experience. But what has actually happened is the Government is planning to spend many billions of taxpayers’ money on a speeded up version of nineteenth century technology.”
“In the Northern Powerhouse area, people are talking about the need for east-west links, rather then another route to London. Even with Royal Assent, it’s not too late to cancel HS2 and look at the real transport needs of the country.”