On the eve of the Government depositing the HS2 Hybrid Bill, Stop HS2 campaigners have been left completely bemused by reports in The Sun that Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said that work on HS2 can be started in four months. The current timetable is for construction to start in four years time. Gaffe-prone McLoughlin recently stated that HS2 would take 250,000 lorries per day off the roads, even though that is the estimated annual figure.
To coincide with the deposition of the Hybrid Bill, hundreds of campaigners will descend on Parliament tomorrow (25th November), for the day the first reading of the HS2 Phase 1 Hybrid Bill. Coaches have been booked from Yorkshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire to bring campaigners to meet MPs and Lords.
Prior to going into Parliament, campaigners will be holding a rally in Old Palace Yard from 10.45am to 12 noon. Stop HS2 are asking people who are attending to arrange meetings on the day with MPs and Lords via www.stophs2.org/lobbyday. Events for MPs and Lords are being hosted at 1pm and 3.30pm by MPs Jeremy Lefroy and Bill Cash, with speakers including former Network Rail director Philip Lund and Robert Oxley from the Tax Payers Alliance.
Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin said;
“Not for the first time, we are completely bemused by Patrick McLoughlin saying construction of HS2 could start in four months, when the current timetable is more like four years. To do anything else would be to completely subvert democracy and remove the right of people to petition the Hybrid Bill Committee. HS1 took about 2 years to get through Parliament, Crossrail about 3. To suggest HS2 could get through in 4 months either means the Government are planning a stitch-up of gargantuan proportions or that the Transport Secretary doesn’t have the first clue what he is talking about. Both of those things have been par for the course with HS2, so neither would surprise us.”
“With the widespread criticism of HS2 from independent bodies, it is quite depressing that MPs and Lords speaking for the project recently are so ill-informed and unwilling to listen to the exceptionally sound arguments which make it clear HS2 should not go ahead. On Monday, people from up and down the HS2 route will descend onto Parliament, not to say they don’t want HS2 to come near their homes, but to say that they have studied the plans and justifications for HS2 and that it should be scrapped completely. It is sad that people in affected communities know more about HS2 than the majority of Parliamentarians know more about what HS2 means, and we hope to change that.”
Philip Lund, a former director of Network Rail will tell MPs:
“There is in fact much about the case for HS2 which simply does not make sense. It is for this reason, as well as because of the effects on their own lives and properties, that many of those protesting in and around Parliament want the project to be scrapped now. Whether or not this is done it is surely necessary to call a halt and have a fundamental review of the proposed scheme in the light of the points made above and by such authoritative bodies as the Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office.”