The Burton Green HS2 Action Group has sent out a letter with a list of suggested actions for to the chairs of Local Action Groups. The following is an edited version of their letter (published with their permission):
We’re entering a critical phase of the campaign to get the Government to drop its proposals for HS2. Ministers are currently drafting the terms of the public consultation. We are all very worried by what Ministers have said on this so far. It sounds as if it will not be a consultation at all, more a nonsultation. They don’t want to debate the principle – whether these plans are needed in the first place. Nor do they want to give people a say as to whether there are better alternatives. It is clear they want to railroad through a debate about one route – that’s all.
We expect the consultation to be published before Christmas. So we need to act NOW and send a crystal clear message to Ministers that we want a proper consultation, not a stitch up. David Cameron says he believes in localism: well, here’s a chance for him to prove it and give local people a genuine platform to have a proper say.
We expect one or possibly two Parliamentary debates to take place on the subject in the next two weeks. Dates have yet to be finalized. These would be important opportunities to make our voice heard. Crucially, they may be the last chance we have to persuade Ministers to widen the terms of the public consultation on HS2.
Here are some things that you, your group and local residents could do, as soon as possible – certainly within the next fortnight. The letter to the PM below is especially important.
1. Write to David Cameron – either by email or, if you can get a letter off now, by post, challenging him to make this a proper consultation – and copying the letter to your MP and the Conservative Party Chief Whip. Their addresses are:
The Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, London SW1A 2AA or faxed on 020 7925 0918 or email via https://email.number10.gov.uk/
Conservative Party Chief Whip: The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Your MP: MP name, House of Commons London SW1A 0AA
2. Send the letter/email to David Cameron to 20 friends and ask them to do likewise – the more people we can get to send a letter in, the better.
3. Watch the debate – we’ll let you know when it is on the BBC Parliament channel – and note whether your MP speaks. If he/she does, write to your local paper welcoming the fact.
4. Send an email to 50 of your friends, asking them to a) sign the petition on the Stophs2 website and b) send the same email on to 50 of their friends, asking them to do the same thing. We must mobilize as many people as possible NOW. The link is www.gopetition.co.uk/petitions/stop-hs2.html
5. Contact your local MP’s constituency office and request an appointment at their next available ‘surgery’. Re-iterate the concerns set out in the letter to the Prime Minister.
6. Ring your local radio station and ask them to host a phone-in discussion on the public consultation and why it may be a stitch-up.
7. Print a Stop HS2 poster and put in your windows, if you haven’t done so already. Ask your local pubs and shops to do the same. If each of us asked just 5 shopkeepers to put them on their doors, that would send a great message. Print them off – they work in colour and black and white.