The Stop HS2 campaign will deliver its petition to Downing Street today, ahead of a Parliamentary debate on the proposed high speed rail network on Thursday. This comes just a month after campaigners were told their petition would not count in terms of getting a Parliamentary debate and they would have to start from scratch. The new Stop HS2 petition, which calls for at least a public inquiry if HS2 is not to be scrapped, is currently 13th out of almost 8,000 (7905 at time of writing) petitions on the Government e-petitions website.
Ahead of the delivery of the petition, Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP said:
“The supposed “greenest Government ever” showed its true blue colours at last week’s Conservative party conference. Let’s be clear: HS2 as it stands has little to do with a “green” transport future. It will likely do nothing to reduce transport emissions, nothing to improve local and regional commuter networks on which millions depend, and nothing to reduce the capital’s economic dominance over the regions. It’s for those reasons and many more that Greens oppose HS2.”
Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom, who has been at the forefront of the parliamentary campaign against HS2 said:
“This will cost every family in Britain £1000 each, so it’s not good enough to say it’s going to solve a problem, so let’s do it anyway. If money were no object, there’s lots and lots of thing like that we might do, but money is an object at a time when this when ever penny has to count.”
Former Labour Paymaster General and Coventry MP Geoffrey Robinson said:
“The existing rail network can be expanded much more cost effectively by investing in new trains, electrification and extended platforms at a fraction of the cost of building HS2.”
Stop HS2 Campaign Coordinator Joe Rukin said:
“The Financial Times, The Economist and The Sunday Telegraph have joined us and several other institutions in questioning the need for HS2, the cost, the lack of benefits and the fact that there are many other more deserving transport projects which should be prioritised first. What people still don’t realise is the fact there is absolutely no environmental case for doing this. People imagine that getting more people onto a high speed train would be good for the environment, but this is simply not the case. Besides the obvious destruction of green spaces and habitats, due to the energy needed to get to the speeds we are talking about. HS2 is also clearly intended to promote air travel. Besides the fact that it will connect airports, any internal flights which might get cancelled will be replaced with new routes, with bigger planes going greater distances.”
“The way that HS2 has progressed so far, without actually looking at what is best for the transport network in a strategic manner is just insane. The public consultation was an absolute farce, with incomplete plans and admissions that many aspects of the work had not been done. At a recent Transport Select Committee meeting, HS2 Chief Engineer Andrew McNaughton still hadn’t got answers to questions we’ve been asking him for over a year now, with the favourite response from the panel being ‘we haven’t done the work on that aspect’. HS2 Ltd still claim they don’t know basic things like what the land take will be, no-one who is directly affected has ever received any direct contact from HS2 Ltd and how they claim they know it will cost £33bn to get to Leeds and Manchester when they haven’t even produced a route yet is beyond me.”
Notes to Editors:
- For more information contact Joe Rukin on 07811 371880 or Penny Gaines on 07765 780553.
- 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 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.
- 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
- People can sign the petition against HS2 via the Stop HS2 website; http://stophs2.org/news/378-petition-government-stop-hs2/ or directly at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/353