This is a guest post by Iain, who tweets as @HS2isawaste.
HS2 protesters have often been accused of localism, nimbyism and self-interest. I certainly have. It’s true that I live in the Chilterns and will suffer in the build phase. But that’s not why I want to bring this terrible waste of money to the attention of people all over Britain. I want to let them know how bad this proposition is.
I recently faced the accusation that I was inconsistent and a Nimby because I did not stand up against the government when it was considering the Jubilee Line Extension, which had a worse “Business Case Return” than that currently proposed for HS2; I was only opposing HS2 as it was in my backyard.
Quite frankly, I had no particular interest in the Jubilee Line scheme; I’m not a rail enthusiast, a local or close to government transport machinations. I knew it was going on but trusted, as I used to, that the government was doing the right thing.
When HS2 came along, I was horrified, but expected to have the inexorable logic laid before me and (probably with little grace and some harrumphing) admit the greater need. But, as you will see from other posts on this site, when we opened the consultation box, we found that the business case is based on unrealistic assumptions, the environmental impact has not been assessed, it is not green, the strategic benefits are questionable, and the money could be better spent on other things.
Ministers and supporters keep changing the arguments for this project, as protesters shoot down their previous ones.
So, I discovered the appalling value of HS2 because I’m a local. But I’m opposing it wholeheartedly because it is really poor value and doesn’t make sense. And I want to ensure that others elsewhere understand that the government intends to spend £33Billion (minimum) on a white elephant.
Locals take an interest because we are local. When we understand the enormity of the proposition, we act as appalled citizens. I’m an appalled citizen, only appalled because I took an interest. I only looked into it because I live here.