Stop HS2 cautiously welcome Patrick McLoughlin as new Transport Secretary.

The revolving door at the Department for Transport has swung today and delivered the eighth Transport Secretary in eight years, with former Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin replacing Justine Greening who refused to meet with Stop HS2 campaigners during her 10 months in the post.

Mr McLoughlin previously held a junior role in the DfT from 1989-92 and is a former miner and farm worker. He represents the most rural constituency in Derbyshire, Derby Dales, but with this being to the west of Derby all the way up to the border with Yorkshire, it is highly unlikely that this would be impacted by any proposed Stage 2 route for HS2. Mr McLoughlin is considered to be sympathetic to countryside issues and is a keen walker. Chelmsford MP Simon Burns who recently met Justine Greening to lobby for rail improvements in his constituency, replaces Theresa Villiers as Minister for Transport.

Chesham and Amersham MP Cheryl Gillan has today lost her job as Welsh Secretary in the reshuffle, saying she could “Serve the party from the backbenches too.”, prompting comments that she should do more to serve her constituents.

Stop HS2 Campaign Coordinator Joe Rukin said;
“We welcome the appointment of Mr McLoughlin, who seems at first glance far more aware of the world around him than the two previous secretaries of state and has already spent more time in the DfT than them both put together. Given his background, we hope the new man in the DfT will be far more receptive than Justine Greening, who refused to even meet with us during her ten months in the job. We hope to put our case to both the new Minister and Secretary of State as soon as possible.”

“We had been expecting the consultations on compensation and land safeguarding, along with the publication of stage 2 of the route to happen in the next week or so, but surely, like when Justine Greening was appointed and delayed publishing the HS2 public consultation results, there will now be a rethink and a delay. To do anything else would be irresponsible and we will be pressing for a complete rethink on HS2, hoping that Mr McLoughlin will see the importance of an integrated transport infrastructure solution for Britain opposed to this ill thought out grand projet.”

Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2 said:
“With the replacement of the two top jobs at the Department for Transport, it’s clear that David Cameron realises that their Transport policy needs a rethink. Although the current focus is on aviation policy, it’s clear that HS2 does not fit into any sensible aviation policy. Almost soon as Justine Greening announced that she wanted HS2 to go ahead, speculation on the need for a third runway started up, showing that HS2 is not a replacement for a third runway at Heathrow.”

“In addition HS2 does not integrate with the plans for the rail network announced earlier this year. The HS2 plans do not include any stations between London and Birmingham, even though it crosses the planned “Electric Spine” from the North-East to the South coast. An integrated railway system would have an interchange station where HS2 crosses other railway lines. Given recent news that the designers of HS2 have massively reduced the value of Green Belt and AONB land, so as to artificially boost the case for HS2, we hope that an MP for a rural constituency like Derbyshire Dales will see through ruses like this and recognise that HS2 is hugely environmentally damaging.”

“In addition, in a time of recession, it is vital that the government spends money carefully. At the earliest, construction of HS2 will not start until 2017, and the rail link will not open until at least 2026. HS2 will do nothing to help Britain out of recession.”

On the issue of Cheryl Gillan, Independent Chiltern Councillor Seb Berry said;
“No-one in the AONB will be shedding a tear for the former Welsh Secretary. She chose to put government career and loyalty to the Prime Minister ahead of her own constituency and deprived her constituents of a voice in Parliament on HS2 in the process. Today’s decision by the Prime Minister means that there are no excuses anymore. Will Cheryl Gillan now finally stand alongside her constituents in unambiguously and vociferously opposing HS2? Now that she is free of any collective Ministerial responsibility for HS2, that is the very least that our MP can do.”

19 comments to “Stop HS2 cautiously welcome Patrick McLoughlin as new Transport Secretary.”
  1. On 12 July Justine Greening made a written statement stating that the compensation consultation would be delayed and that she would write to everyone most likely to be affected by the project to explain this change. Has anyone received such a letter?

  2. morris says:
    September 16, 2012 at 10:52 am
    ‘John – we would welcome your comments on any pro-hs2 site as these allow anyone to comment’

    What sites please?

  3. Readers here may be interested in the following link from today’s Transport Select Committee evidence session;
    http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=11406 – with particular focus on the section timed between 14:33:43 – 14:36:39, it seems that the new Secretary of State for Transport intends to adopt an identical policy stance on HS2 as that pursued by his predecessor.

    According to Patrick McLoughlin, he (as the minister charged with the task) will bring forward the Hybrid Bill enabling legislation for phase 1 during October 2013 with a view to the Act receiving Royal Assent during the early weeks of 2015. The approved Route3 pathway will be designated within that document.

    Phase 2 plans will be placed in the public domain before the end of 2012.

    None of this (somewhat predictable news) detracts from the fact that whoever remains in charge at the Treasury can still exert significant influence upon the progress of HS2, so their viewpoint (and the factors that shape it) does matter.

    • Well, Peter, none of what you wrote here is what McLoughlin actually said to the Transport Select Committee yesterday – you are spinning again. He did not say he was adopting an “identical policy stance”, did he?

      And he certainly didn’t give the specific timetable, that you say he did. He said he “like to see the legislation” and “intend to” publish by the end of the year, but he hadn’t seen all the documents.

      14:33 HS2

      Ellman: “Are you committed to delivering the legislation for first part of the HS2 network by 2015?”
      McL “I would certainly like to see the legislation by 2015, yes.”

      Ellman “Are you committed to ensuring the line goes beyond Birmingham to the north, on the agreed timetable at least, if not quicker”
      McL “As I said, right at the start of my evidence and I know from my own experience, rail planning, infrastructure planning takes a very long period of time but it is our intention to complete the Y link, that does take a bit longer but we have to first get the first section to Birmingham operating and it is our intention to do so.”

      Ellman “will you be recalcultaing the business cost ratio of the scheme?”
      Rutman We keep the business case under review, and take into account most recent info on GDP, passenger numbers and other info and will be publishing another revised business case at some point in the future, but don’t know when

      Stewart: aviation capacity review, would you look at the detail of hsr in that context so if decision is made on a particular airport, would hs2 be amended to take account of that?

      McL “well, gosh.” at the moment the route has been published, it was published by previous govt intend to stick with it, is intended stop near Heathrow (Rutman “Old Oak Common”), but won’t prejudge what Davis commission say

      14:36 Julie When you publish route of the Y?
      McL Have announced like to do it before the end of the year, it is still my intention to try and do that before end of year, that at the moment is the intention but will wait to see the papers that I’ve not yet seen

      • Nice try Penny (don’t suppose you’ll allow this response or do you just want a one-sided debate?)

        I wouldn’t mind but your own tool for generating HS related links, shown above with the tag line;

        Transport Secretary sounds warning to HS2 protesters – RailwayPeople.com

        takes readers to an article that carries a very similar narrative to my own – but you carry on convincing yourself otherwise if you want to?

        The single biggest threat to HS2 stems solely from the relative stability of the current Coalition – if the present administration collapses before February 2015, your campaign’s goal will be acheived by default. If not I can’t see (at this stage) any other outcome except HS2 going ahead

        • Peter, That article is very different from your “narrative”.

          http://www.railwaypeople.com/rail-news-articles/transport-secretary-sounds-warning-to-hs2-protesters-2213.html

          It says that McLaoughlin “said that he hoped to publish the preferred route of Phase 2 of the project by the end of the year.” None of the certainty of your “narrative”.

          I suggest that everyone follows up your links to see just how different your interpretation is from what is said in them.

          • (2 in a row you’ve now published – I’m on a roll!)
            No it isn’t and you’ve even got another link to an ITN News article under the heading:

            HS2 on track says new Transport Secretary

            Someone here complained about my use of the term “deluded”

            Now, here you are reinforcing the reasons why that description is apt for so many within the vocal anti-HS2 community residing along the Route3 pathway corridor

            • You are playing Lord Haw Haw again Peter, and look what happened in WW2. Listening to you won’t change the views of many thousands of people that the Governments HS2 proposals are bad and the outcome of this is far from certain for all sorts of reasons.

              You like to refer to “inconvenient facts” . Presumably things like :

              1 ) This costs £ 37 bn + ,
              2 ) We already have a very serious budgetary and fiscal position ( David R ) ,
              3 ) The official stats show that extra fares will cover only a small part of the cost ,
              4 ) The Economic Case is entirely dependant on the value of “time saved” ,
              5 ) The Campaign for High Speed Rail were dishonest when they implied that HS2 would “create” 1 million jobs – they don’t anymore ,
              6 ) The claim that HS1 created £ 20 m of economic benefit is bogus ,
              7 ) Our journey times between major cities are already faster than most of Europe ,
              8 ) A route along a motorway would create less environmental damage ( it would also let more people use a new line ) ,
              9 ) The Government ignored the responses of the vast majority of the Consultation respondents. It was a sham , a box ticking exercise .

              Justine Greening was a hypocrite when she elected to press on with the scheme in its current form , given her opposition to the earlier Heathrow consultation. That’s a good word to describe you when you whinge about HS2 opponents ( not all of whom live in the Chilterns or even along route 3).

            • John – we would welcome your comments on any pro-hs2 site as these allow anyone to comment unlike here with is monitored by a VERY anti HS2 moderators which only allows 0.0001% of any pro-HS2 comment. But this comment will not be allowed anyway.

        • Legislation won’t be passed before the next election in 2015 but there is a high probability it will go ahead anyway. Cancellation or substantial (several years) delay only likely if there is a very serious UK fiscal crisis which is possible but I very much hope it won’t happen. Substantial route changes only if it gets caught up in the SE airport fiasco and/or if Labour just can’t resist the temptation to play politics.

          All “in my view”

    • For those harbouring hopes of a significant change in stop hs2 policy don’t hold your breath
      We are prepared to play the long game and will not be undermined by personal abuse,spin or cosmetic business cases.
      It’s interesting that pro hs2 people are allowed to post on this site but I can’t find a pro site where I can post—what are they trying to hide?

    • This speech does not depress me at all. The new SoS briefly congratulated his predecessor on her giving the go ahead to high speed rail, then swiftly moved on to fiscal deficit and the large subsidies in rail. Government policy will be seen to be followed until the moment that it is changed, and this speech gives every opportunity to cancel the project with any and all blame being put at the door of Greening (or Hammond).

    • And yet you felt obliged some days ago to write to your MP for Tatton, who is also the Chancellor, asking him to explain himself with respect to HS2 and I quote “and then asked Mr. Osborne to justify his instrumental role in removing Ms.Greening from her post – this development does have implications for HS2 strategy.”

      I assume that you post as PADAV across other sites such as the Guardian this weekend, the high level of arrogance, vitriol and name calling are the giveaways I am afraid to say.

      • @Ian S

        I think you’ll find I tend to stick to the facts – they may be inconvenient facts for the anti-HS2 perspective but that’s not my problem.

        As for name calling you only have to see the final response (to me) timed in that thread at 10 September 2012 10:00AM to see which side of the argument routinely resorts to abuse and/or attempts to discredit the messenger. If someone posts a factually incorrect and/or misleading statement, yes, I’m quite happy to point that out in robust terms – sorry if this offends but to use an old adage; “if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen!”

        • As usual you have demonstrated my point about your posts, there is “robust” and there is unnecessarily rude.
          Labelling people as “deluded” and the many other stock in trade phrases that you employ is unnecessary and helps to undermine whatever fact that you may be trying to “educate” people with.
          As for the final response to you, is it possible that your overly aggressive postings bring out the worst in people?

          Anyway once again you have failed to answer the question, if we should not hold our breath, why were you concerned enough to write to George Osborne about his part in Ms Greening’s downfall? Surely it has no direct relevance to HS2 strategy given your reference to the new SoS’ statement?

  4. The politicians we pay seem to have totally forgotten that they are supposed to make our lives better not blight them.
    The people who would be affected by a third Heathrow runway must be living a nightmare and all blighted communities should insist that those politicians responsible for Transport be locked in a room until they come out with a coordinated,forward looking and minimum people impact transport strategy.
    We cant go on like this!!!!

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