41 Town and Parish Councils Call for Immediate Halt to HS2 Work

Since this article was published, the total has risen to 48. Also, a petition has been published on the parliament website, calling for exactly the same thing. It can be signed here.

On the same day as Buckinghamshire County Council followed Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern District Councils and became the third local authority to call for an immediate halt to HS2 works, a letter was delivered to Parliament on behalf of 41 town and parish councils demanding that “Those with power and influence call an immediate halt to the ill-conceived project”.

Prepared by Greatworth and Halse Parish Council in South Northamptonshire, the letter highlights the already significant failures of the Government’s ‘white elephant’ against a background of more revelations which demonstrate the inadequacy of those in charge of delivering HS2 in the hope that common sense will prevail and those with power and influence will stop this bloated mammoth now, before any more money is wasted.

The text of the letter and the signatories are listed below. If your town or parish council would like to be added to the list of supporters, please email clerk@greatworthparishcouncil.co.uk

The all-consuming Brexit babble is drowning out major concerns that the Government is failing to
address. All over the country the concern that excites the most vociferous condemnation is the HS2
infrastructure project. Mr. Thurston, HS2’s Chief Executive, claims that there is a groundswell of
support nationwide for this railway – we do not believe him.

When launched nine years ago, HS2 was heralded as the train that would carry 1,100 passengers
every four minutes from London to Birmingham at speeds well in excess of 200mph. A straight line
was drawn across England, obliterating anything in its path, in order to accommodate this “high
speed” wonder. After nine years of planning and numerous changes of management at senior level,
the Government needs to reassess the criteria on which the viability of this project should be
judged.

Everyone knows that the budget is ballooning and out of control. In order to try and regain control
we hear that the trains may now go slower – to save cost. The trains may be greatly reduced in
number – to save cost. The line may never be built beyond Birmingham – because the cost will be
too great. The latest ex-Chairman suggests that the development at Euston should be delayed and
the trains should stop at Old Oak Common – to save cost. Local observation of the preliminary
enabling work that has been done already shows a total disregard for cost control, and a complete
lack of common sense.

There are claims that this whole project is already obsolete. It earned the nickname ”White
Elephant” almost at its inception, and it still carries that description today. “White Elephant”
projects make people nervous. Improving our existing railways nationwide is so obviously the better
option and would be a far more popular plan.

Andrea Leadsom, our Member of Parliament, has put all these points about HS2 to Mr. Thurston and
challenged him to review the business case and the value for taxpayers’ money. He trots out an all
too familiar assurance that the project will be “on time and on budget” – a commitment also made
by Mr. Grayling. Another major infrastructure project, currently under construction, that boasted to
be “on time and on budget” is Crossrail. Now the Government admits that Crossrail will be late and
over budget. By the time HS2 is up and running the IT phenomenon will see more and more people
working from home – they do already. The whole world can already make instant contact, with eye
contact, on screen. The cry for more and more capacity (a necessity strongly advocated by Teresa
May) will fade away. Who will need to travel, on an expensive ticket, from Old Oak common to
Birmingham, with no stops en route and no saving on time?

Mr. Grayling still labours under the illusion that Phase One of HS2 will cost £27.18bn. We all know
that the cost is over £50bn and rising. He also says that HS2 will become the backbone of our
national rail network. A backbone is no use to anyone if it only connects a third of the body. If this
railway never goes beyond Birmingham, the improvement to connectivity between London, the
Midlands, northern England and central Scotland will be greatly diminished.

Every week recently there have been more and more revelations which demonstrate the inadequacy
of those in charge of delivering HS2. The source for the considerable amount of electricity needed
to power the HS2 trains has long been questioned. The possible, unbelievable answer to this
problem at this late stage is wind turbines and solar panels along the route. More land acquisition
and much, much more cost, both financial and environmental. There was no mention in the EA of
wind turbines powering the trains. Therefore when Parliament gave the go ahead for HS2, there
was no knowledge of this huge environmental impact to wildlife and the countryside.

We, the undersigned, urge all those with power and influence to stop this bloated mammoth now,
before any more money is wasted, and thus release billions of pounds for far more important,
necessary and worthwhile projects.

The additional seven signatories are at the bottom

Aston le Walls Parish Council
Aynho Parish Council
Brackley Town Council
Chalfont St Giles Parish Council
Chalfont St Peter Parish Council
Chapel Ascote Parish Council
Chetwode Parish Meeting
Chipping Warden & Edgecote Parish Council
Coleshill Town Council
Culworth Parish Council
Curdworth Parish Council
Edgcott Parish Council
Evenley Parish Council
Farthinghoe Parish Council
Godington Parsh Meeting
Great Missenden Parish Council
Greatworth Parish Council
Grendon Underwood
Helmdon Parish Council
Hinton in the Hedges Parish Meeting
Hunningham Parish Council
Kings Sutton Parish Council
Middle Claydon Parish Council
Mixbury Parish Meeting
Newton Purcell with Shelswell Parish Meeting
Offchurch Parish Council
Preston Bissett Parish Council
Quainton Parish Council
Radstone Parish Meeting
Seer Green Parish Council
Stoke Mandeville Parish Council
Stoneleigh and Ashow Parish Council
Stoneton Parish Council
The Lee Parish Council
Thenford Parish Meeting
Thorpe Mandeville Parish Council
Turweston Parish Council
Twyford Parish Council
Water Orton Parish Council
Weston Under Wetherley Parish Council
Wormleighton Parish Council

Additional signatories

Burton Green Parish Council

Calvert Green Parish Council

Cubbington Parish Council

Great and Little Hampden Parish Council

Middleton Parish Council

Tingewick Parish Council

Westbury Parish Council

One comment to “41 Town and Parish Councils Call for Immediate Halt to HS2 Work”
  1. We we’re told lies from the start ,when I asked a question at HS2 presentation ( why have you already started construction work in the valley) no we haven’t .
    Bin it who the hell wonts to get to Birmingham in a hurry anyway we are paying for it and will be dead before it ever runs . Like the comments say you can work from home and also skyp

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