A group of local campaigners against the proposed high-speed railway between London and the West Midlands (HS2) have been given the chance to express their concerns to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP.
The meeting on Monday came as the direct result of two letters written to the Transport Secretary by Kenilworth and Southam MP, Jeremy Wright. When this resulted in a meeting being scheduled with the Transport Secretary, Mr Wright invited a delegation from his constituency, of four action group representatives and a local county councillor, to take part.
Topics covered in the short meeting included the arrangements for community engagement with HS2 Ltd, changes to the route design and other mitigation, noise and vibration and the business case for HS2.
The following views were expressed by some attendees after the meeting:
“I was very pleased that the Secretary of State agreed to meet us, to hear at first hand, from the Action Groups, how HS2 is affecting the lives of my constituents along the line. The Secretary of State was left in no doubt about their views on the variety of issues discussed at the meeting and I look forward to further discussion with him on these and other issues.” – Jeremy Wright MP.
“The meeting was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate to the Secretary of State the close working liaison between the County Council and the HS2 Action Groups, in our joint fight for the best possible outcomes for the people of Warwickshire.” – County councillor John Whitehouse, chair of WCC’s Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee.
“I am very grateful to Jeremy Wright for arranging this opportunity for us speak to the Transport Secretary, who gave us a very fair hearing. I hope that the quality of the engagement between HS2 Ltd and local communities will be significantly improved as a result.” – Peter Delow, Chairman of Cubbington Action Group against HS2.
Chair of Stop HS2, Penny Gaines, who was not at the meeting, added
“It’s a change in the right direction that the Secretary of State for Transport is now willing to listen directly to people opposed to HS2. For nearly a year, when Justine Greening was in charge of the Department, she only seemed to listen to Department for Transport officials or HS2 supporters. In particular, we were concerned that she was only getting summaries written by DfT staff of the reasons for opposing HS2. With the scale of the HS2 project, it is even more vital that reasons for opposing HS2 are carefully looked at by the ministers making decisions.”