On Thursday two county councils debated HS2.
As we mentioned yesterday, Staffordshire County Council voted to oppose HS2.
The current plans show the route ending at Lichfield in the south of Staffs, but the second phase, to Manchester, would also cut through the county. There were four reasons to oppose HS2, they said:
• Its business case is flawed
• There is no economic benefit for Staffordshire and it would actually damage the county’s economy
• It would cause significant environmental damage
• Investment should be made in improving affordable rail and road transport
Council leader, Philip Atkins, said
“There are serious concerns about the devastating environmental impact and the potential harm to our economy. Many people don’t realise that existing mainline train services from our county would suffer.
“This is an important issue for all Staffordshire residents. While the HS2 line ends in the south of the county, the HS3 line would cut through the rest to the north through the Trent Valley.
“We believe an urgent national debate needs to take place on better ways of improving our transport infrastructure for the good of the entire economy.”
“I would urge people to respond to the Government’s official HS2 consultation and oppose these proposals,” he said.
Northamptonshire also debated HS2 on Thursday. However, in spite of calls for a vote, it was refused: instead the cabinet will decide on 11th May, without a full council vote.
Andrew Bodman, who went to the debate , told Stop HS2
“There were eleven speakers from the public; nine were against HS2 while two were in favour. One of those in favour is employed by HS2 Ltd. The first councillor to speak, Ben Smith, emphasised that the item was for discussion today; voting would be performed by the NCC Cabinet on May 11th. A total of 23 councillors then spoke, and there were more against HS2 than in favour. Bearing in mind that HS2 detailed documents have been available for one year, the official consultation documents have been available for 18 days, I would suggest that they should be some way beyond discussion in principle to examination of the detail and its implications.
“Several councillors suggested a show of hands today, and Councillor Tony Clarke proposed a motion (without notice) to oppose HS2. The latter was rejected on a point of order and the show of hands also did not take place. Another suggestion was that councillors could vote on HS2 at their meeting in May which would be after the Cabinet meeting. In total the discussion on this agenda item lasted for one hour and forty minutes.
“It appears that Northampton County Council is taking longer to reach a clear decision on HS2 than virtually any other council on the route to Birmingham.”
He also said that most of the public who had turned up to listen were hidden from the council’s view in a side room with just a video link to the main council chamber.