Lord Adonis, the former unelected Labour transport minister, is getting worried that the Government is not racing ahead with the HS2 plans he set in motion.
According to the Birmingham Post:
The architect of plans for a new high speed rail line has urged Birmingham and the West Midlands to demand the project goes ahead as he warned that Ministers were “losing their nerve”.
Former Transport Secretary Lord Adonis accused the Government of giving in to “Nimbys in the Chilterns” after Ministers announced they were delaying a decision on the planned high speed rail network linking Birmingham to London and the north.
Adonis announced the HS2 proposal in March 2010, in spite of knowing it was the few weeks before a general election.
Unlike Adonis, Justine Greening is willing to take the time to make a rational decision on HS2. Willing to take the views of the electorate into the account as she looks at the relevant factors between now and her announcement, expected sometime in mid to late January.
But opposition to HS2 is more widespread then Lord Adonis is willing to let on.
You don’t expect to see a headline starting : Institute of Directors and Green Party in agreement… But they are in agreement on HS2.
Groups opposed to HS2 range from right-wing Adam Smith Institute to the left-wing New Economics Foundation.
They include a whole host of environmental groups, including Greenpeace, the Woodland Trust, the Wildlife Trust, Friends of the Earth, RSPB, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Chiltern Society, Civic Voice and the Environmental Law Foundation.
The Conservative Transport Group and Freshfield Foundation are opposed to HS2: as does UKIP and the Sustainable Development Commission before it was disbanded. Similarly the Federation of Small Businesses is against HS2.
There are MPs from parties across the political spectrum opposed to HS2, including Conservative John Redwood (Wokingham) Kevan Jones (Lab, North Durham – Shadow Defence Minister), Kelvin Hopkins (Lab, Luton North), Roger Godsiff (Lab, Hall Green Birmingham), Andrew Tyrie (Con, Chichester – Chair or Treasury Select Committee), Caroline Lucas (Green, Brighton Pavilion) and many others.
Now that he is no longer a minister, maybe Lord Adonis feels free to ignore the urging of the Transport Select Committee that “the Government to desist from disparaging opponents of HS2 as NIMBYs”.
But with the wide range of organisations opposed to HS2, far from losing her nerve it seems Justine Greening is willing to listen…