2011 promises to be a busy year for campaigners against HS2.
In the first half of the year, the main focus is the public consultation. This is expected to start in about February, and to continue until the summer. There will be two strands: nationally the consultation “will encompass the Government’s strategy for a national high speed rail network”, and locally there will be roadshows along the existing proposed route.
We suspect the government will concentrate it’s efforts with the national consultation in the north of England, and possibly Scotland, targeting people who think they might benefit from HS2, if HS2 Ltd builds the railway as far as their towns and cities and HS2 Ltd builds a station there. However HS2 Ltd and the government have both said they would consider only one or two stations stations on the entire network.
As Gateshead MP Ian Mearns said, after Philip Hammond appealed to the North East to back him “We are essentially being told there will be jam some day with this one, but we’re not quite sure when this will arrive. …We have to welcome this, even though it is difficult to see what potential real offer is for us.”
Also this year, HS2 Ltd will probably produce maps showing the planned route between Birmingham and Manchester. This is a ticking time bomb: there are thousands of people who will discover that their lives are as seriously affected as the people who already know that the proposed High Speed Two rail line is coming too close to them.
When these maps are produced, Stop HS2, and other campaigners opposed to HS2 Ltd’s plans will help them set up local action groups and get involved in the national campaign against HS2.
The campaign against HS2 has come a long way since the announcement on March 11th 2010. Many people have independently set up numerous local action groups, which are now working together in a variety of ways to oppose the proposals on a national level.
And now on with the fight….