Following on from party conferences, the next week is an exceptionally busy one for the Stop HS2 campaign. On Tuesday 11th October, the original Stop HS2 petitions will be handed delivered to 10 Downing Street at 1.30pm. MPs Dan Byles, Andrea Leadsom & Chris White have confirmed they will accompany campaigners to Number 10 with more expected to confirm on the day. The petition was initially started to secure a parliamentary debate in the main chamber, which will happen on Thursday 13th. Stop HS2 campaigners will be assembling at Old Palace Yard opposite the House of Commons from 10.30 that day, with the debate expected to start some time after 2pm, depending on other parliamentary business.
On Monday 10th a Stop HS2 delegation will attend an event held by the Coalition for Access to Justice for the Environment, which will give an insight into how to progress a legal challenge to HS2 based on environmental concerns under the Aarhus Convention. On Wednesday & Thursday, there will a Rail Summit held in London, with Stop HS2 talking part in a debate: “HS2 – is it in the country’s best interests?” at 3.25 on Thursday 13th. This is likely to coincide with the long-awaited debate in Parliament.
Stop HS2 Campaign Coordinator Joe Rukin said:
“We had 104,000 signatures on the combined petitions, but since we confirmed the date for handing them in and put out the final call-in, more have been arriving at our office and many are only going to get passed on at a meeting this Sunday, so we won’t know exactly how many we’ve got until the day before they are handed in. It’s been a long road getting here and a lot of hard work has gone in from a lot of people. We thank all of them and everyone who signed up, and on Thursday their efforts will have their first reward when there is finally a debate in Parliament on HS2.”
“The fact that HS2 has progressed so far without a debate in the Main Chamber of Parliament is a disgrace, but even now MPs won’t be able to actually vote on HS2 before Transport Secretary Philip Hammond decides whether he wants to go ahead or not. The whole process, which began with the unelected unaccountable Lord Adonis just waking up one morning and deciding he wanted a high speed train, which went on with the farce that was the public consultation, and which is now set to progress to the next stage just on the nod of Hammond sticks two fingers up at the ideas of both representative democracy and that Governments should think and act in the best interests of the country as a whole.”
“Both handing in the petition and the debate will be great opportunities for MPs to show their support for the campaign. Some MPs have worked exceptionally hard on the campaign, but now it is the time for more of them to do more to influence their parliamentary colleagues and deliver the facts behind the spin of HS2. There is simply no case for HS2, either environmentally or economically. It will do none of the things which have been promised and is simply a poorly thought through fast train for fat cats, an unaffordable luxury which this country can ill-afford at this time of cuts.”
Notes to Editors:
- For more information contact Joe Rukin on 07811 371880 or Penny Gaines on 07765 780553.
- The Coalition for Access to Justice for the Environment event takes place on Monday 10th October, 9.45am – 4pm at The Great Hall King’s College Strand London WC2R 2LS. See http://www.elflaw.org/wp-content/themes/elftemplate/media/056-Aarhus-flyer-08-11-Email.pdf
- The Stop HS2 petition will be handed in to Downing Street at 1.30 (arriving at the gates at 1.20) on Tuesday 11th October.
- The Rail Summit takes place at 22 Berners Street, London, W1T 3DD on 12th & 13th October (www.ico.org). The debate “HS2 – is it in the country’s best interests?” will take place at 3.25 on Thursday 13th October. Details at http://www.railsummit.co.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/284455/C108-Rail-Summit-E05.pdf
- The HS2 debate in the main chamber of Parliament is expected to start some time after 2pm on Thursday 13th October. Stop HS2 campaigners will be present at Old Palace Yard (opposite the Palace of Westminster) from 10.30.
- People can sign the petition against HS2 via the Stop HS2 website; http://stophs2.org/news/378-petition-government-stop-hs2/.