With county council elections due on May 2nd, many people affected by HS2 are saying they won’t vote for any party supporting HS2. There are two national parties opposed to HS2, The Green Party and The UK Independence Party. Here is what they have to say about HS2.
The Green Party
The Greens, who say they remain committed to genuine improvements in public transport, voted overwhelmingly at their Conference in 2011 to campaign against the HS2 project, saying proposals currently on the table would be “economically and environmentally unsound.”
The Green Party remains in favour of high speed rail in principle, but any project would need to meet strict criteria.
Former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP said:
“The Green Party is opposed to the current HS2 proposals. The economic case is unsound. The claims about reducing CO2 emissions are questionable to say the least. And the huge damage which would be caused to local communities and their environment would be unsustainable.”
Transport expert and Green Party spokesperson on sustainable development Professor John Whitelegg said:
“The proposed HS2 trains would burn 50% more energy mile-for-mile than the Eurostar.
“HS2 would produce more than twice the emissions of an intercity train.
“HS2 is a ‘rich person’s railway’ – the business case assumes that a third of passengers will be on incomes of £70,000 or more.
“Everyone knows the Greens and passionately committed to social justice and to the environment. The current HS2 proposals would serve neither.”
Nuneaton Councillor Keith Kondakor said:
“HS2 is stupidly expensive way to improve our railways. For a fraction of the cost we could improve our existing services. For example we urgently need a two-carriage train to increase the Nuneaton to Coventry service to twice an hour. The cost would equate to a few hours of the development cost for HS2. We need to be reopening stations in Warwickshire such as Kenilworth & Stockingford; electrify the network to improve services and improve frequency of trains on key routes.”
The UK Independence Party
Chris Adams from UKIP says “The only thing that national politicians care about is losing votes. On 2 May UKIP is offering voters the chance to create a Stop HS2’political earthquake’ that will be heard loud and clear by Mr Cameron. Please take this opportunity to elect UKIP county councillors all along the HS2 route and send shockwaves through the Conservative party at the highest level. After three years of the national Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties treating many areas with contempt, please think carefully where you place your cross on the ballot paper. Regardless of your usual political allegiances, at this election we are urging everyone to back UKIP along the proposed route of HS2 and to help deliver that HS2 political earthquake right across the HS2 route.”
UKIP is opposed to the High Speed 2 (HS2) project.
The proposals would see a high speed railway between London and the Midlands, the North of England and, ultimately, Central Scotland. This project is being developed by High Speed Two Ltd, a company originally established by the last Labour government. Since May 2010 the project continues to receive support from the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government. The railway will be built in stages with the London to Birmingham section being the first stage to be completed. If the plan is approved then construction work could start in 2017 with the first trains running eight years later. It is currently estimated the project will cost in excess of £33billion.
Two UKIP MEPs have been particularly vocal in their criticism of HS2.
UKIP Leader Nigel Farage is a MEP for South East England which includes Buckinghamshire, a county which will see much of its beautiful countryside butchered in the first stage of HS2. He says the project is ”undesirable, unwanted and unloved”.
He added: “It beggars belief that in the depths of a financial crisis the government should embark on spending such a large amount. I think it’s the wrong decision, at the wrong time and in the wrong place.”
Paul Nuttall, Deputy UKIP Leader and MEP for North West England also condemns the plans. He said: “What are the real benefits of this project? There are none. It is predicted that HS2 will knock half an hour off the journey from London to Liverpool. Big Deal. I do not believe that those extra 30 minutes are vital to the economy of the North West. This may be a good idea one day, but in the current challenging economic times the expenditure can hardly be justified.”