We’ve had a report from one of the attendees of Monday’s event on High Speed rail organised by Birmingham Chamber of Commerce
“The event was heavily biased , with all the speakers from a pro HS2 view (Birminghamham airport, NEC, Acme, Locate Kent on HS1).
“Hammond said there would be an open and constructive debate. His main current argument on the economic case is that the Jubilee line case didn’t look great at the outset but it turned out OK in the end; and the North- South divide argument. He said there was opposition with the introduction of rail and motorways, but we can’t live without rail and motorways now, it’ll be the same for HSR. Said he’s walked every mile of the route and will personally monitor mitigation, visually and accoustically, and where they can’t he’ll make sure it looks nice.
“Some questioned the business case but there was a major capacity challenge, not convinced on argument to upgrade WCML, no real allternatives without massive disruption and this will be a step change. He said the anti lobby were ‘organised, determined and well financed’ – obviously the success of Burton Green’s Auction has come to his attention. Or maybe he knows something about the ex conservative donors that we don’t know.
“In all there were 3 anti questions. One was a mini speech on the misleading economic case and touched on the N/S divide myth and alternatives. Jan Kenyon did well, jumping in where she could. Paul Writhingtom of Transport watch asked the other question.”
The BBC reports here.
The Birmingham Post has a report here.
And another report here.