ANTI HIGH SPEED RAIL CAMPAIGNER TO WALK ENTIRE PROPOSED ROUTE OF HS2
Stop HS2 campaigner and founding member Lizzy Williams will begin walking the entire route of the proposed High Speed Rail Link between London and Birmingham on Wednesday 1st September. WALKHS2 is the brainchild of Lizzy after discussing a walk with fellow HS2 objectors across the country and abroad on Facebook shortly after the HS2 plans were announced on 11th March this year. In addition, a WALKHS2 ‘walk the line’ weekend will take place on the weekend of 10th, 11th & 12th September. For details of walks please visit www.walkhs2.co.uk. Anyone who opposes HS2, or is undecided and wants to see exactly what is at stake, is encouraged to take part and HS2 Action Groups up and down the country are joining in this positive action event designed to highlight the widespread opposition throughout the country. To coincide with Lizzys walk southwards, action groups in Warwickshire have also organised a walk of the Kenilworth Greenway to Burton Green taking place on Sunday 5th September. Various groups are looking forward to welcoming Lizzy on her way and she is also looking forward to meeting as many people as possible including various celebrities affected. Lizzy aims to have reached the Battle of Edgcote Reinactment on Saturday September 11th in Chipping Warden, Near Banbury. The Battle of Edgcote site is directly threatened by the HS2 proposal and lies just two miles west of her home in South Northamptonshire. Lizzy then hopes to carry on, meeting fellow campaigners from the Chiltern Society in Amersham and all the way down to London.
Williams, 36, who is unable to work following a car crash which left her with brain injuries and nerve damage, intends to raise awareness of the threat posed by HS2 to the British Countryside and Environment and the nations finances and will be walking the route in short stages over the month of September.
The walk will start at the northernmost part of the DfTs published maps, just north of Lichfield in Staffordshire and will conclude late September at Euston Station. Williams will come back at a later date to walk the spur into the centre of Birmingham to coincide with Conservative Party conference.
Williams said “This is something I feel I have to do despite my health problems. It will be a huge challenge in my recovery process for me. If I don’t do all I can to try and save our countryside and heritage, I will never forgive myself. I hope by walking I will help raise national awareness of this outrageously flawed proposal and the damage it has already done to our communities. I also want to see for myself what could be destroyed along the line. People’s futures have been stolen and I want the Government to return them. People need to wake up and realise what the Country stands to lose and that the losses to all of us grossly outweigh the unsubstantiated and merely assumed economic gains. Too many people are burying their heads in the sand believing it will never happen when those of us involved in fighting know that the Government is absolutely committed to HS2 despite the fact that the public consultation has not yet been carried out. People also need to realise that the billions needed for the scheme to go ahead will cost every single person and mean huge cutbacks elsewhere. The 1996 EU directive the HS2 proposal attempts to address is outdated by 14 years of technological advances and the directive urgently needs review. We all want better transport infrastructure in this country but it should be sustainable in every aspect and provide value for money, which this proposal completely fails to do.”
Stop HS2 Convenor Joe Rukin said “Lizzy has inspired people and captured their imagination up and down the line, as those of us who have actually examined the plans know more attention has to be paid to HS2 and we hope this will be a real show of unity against this ridiculous extravagance. The simplest analysis shows it’s not just a White Elephant; it’s a whole herd of them being forced into a cluster of financial black holes. Recently I met with Andrew McNaughton, the Chief Engineer behind the project, and he admitted that there is a ‘Political need to build something that is a statement about modern transport.’ and that seems to be the only logical reason for building it, as there is no business case, no environmental case and no money to pay for it. He said ‘If the French can do it, why can’t we?’ Well the French are planning to cut services on the TGV as they are losing money. They say the London to Birmingham section will take over 11,000 people off planes every day, but there are no flights between London and Birmingham. They say there will be over three times as many passengers as there are now, but they said that about HS1 and their services have just been cut due to lack of demand and it’s being sold off for a quarter of what it cost. In cash terms, even on a 60-year forecast, HS2 will lose twelve billion pounds and that’s if any of the supporting figures can be believed. They say it will be good for regional economies, but HS2 Ltd admit that it might only reinforce the London economy, but haven’t done any work on that yet. To do this now is insane. Schools are being cut, hospitals are being cut, and fire and police stations are being cut. Even playgrounds are being cut, but Phillip Hammond is still going to get his train set.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
- Williams will start her walk on the A515 Tewnalls Lane, at the railway bridge, just north of Lichfield Golf & Country Club, WS13 8HE at 11am on Wednesday 1st September. The first day will conclude at Lichfield Trent Valley railway station.
- On 2nd September, BBC WM will be interviewing Lizzy for live broadcast as she starts day two at 7am at Lichfield Trent Valley railway station.
- Stop HS2 is the national group campaigning on behalf of anti-HS2 action groups up and down the proposed route.
- Planned local events and an itinerary (subject to change) of Lizzys’ progress can be found at www.stophs2.org and at www.walkhs2.co.uk
- The Connexion, ‘TGV lines may be axed to save cash’ http://www.connexionfrance.com/sncf-tgv-services-axed-loss-making-train-strike-france-february-3-unions-11333-view-article.html
- Statements attributed to HS2 Ltd by Joe Rukin came from a meeting held at the DfT offices on 17th August with action groups from Warwickshire.
- Details of the Kenilworth Greenway walk can be found at www.bgvh.org.uk (Burton Green, the destination of the walk) www.hs2cv8.co.uk (Kenilworth, for those coming from the south) and www.hhag.org.uk (Berkswell, for those coming from the north). The Kenilworth Greenway was part of the Sustrans Connect 2 network, which won lottery funding in the ITV1 ‘The People’s £50 Million’ programme in December 2007. The Burton Green section has not been surfaced due to the threat of HS2.
- For more information contact Lizzy Williams on 07842 164880 or Joe Rukin on 07811 371880.