STOP HS2: “TOLL ROAD FAILURE SHOWS SPEED DOESN’T SELL” AS CAMPAIGNER CROSSES M6 TOLL
On Day Three of her walk along the entire proposed route of HS2, Lizzy Williams will cross the M6 Toll, which this week was branded as a failure by the Campaign for Better Transport.
Williams said “The toll road has been a complete failure, just like HS2 will be. It was meant to be good for travellers, good for business, people were meant to have more reliable and faster journeys and it would turn a profit. The reality is that none of this has happened. It’s got about half the projected traffic, it’s over-priced and it’s losing money for the operators. They said the same thing about HS1 in Kent, it was going to be good for travellers, good for business, people were meant to have more reliable and faster journeys and it would turn a profit. It was meant to have 21 million passengers a year, and has just managed a third of that 7.5 million. It’s been running at a loss, they’ve cut services and it’s being sold for a quarter of what it cost to build. These are the facts we are desperate to point out to people as they are saying exactly the same things about HS2. Sure these things sound good, but there is absolutely no substance behind the claims. There are 45,000 passengers per day using the West Coast Mainline currently and they reckon HS2 will somehow magic up another 101,000. It’s absolute rubbish. People have got to realise this is just another case of politicians saying what they think sounds good and ignoring the facts.”
The report from the Campaign for Better Transport, published earlier this week, found that that not only has the toll road not improved transport in the West Midlands, but that drivers who paid the toll were not receiving value for money. The toll’s operator was losing tens of millions of pounds each year and the Highways Agency is planning to spend half a billion pounds on congestion relief which the M6 Toll was supposed to have provided. Even when the toll was busiest when there were major road works on the M6, the operator MEL was still losing millions of pounds a year.
The Campaign for Better Transport has six tests which it places on HS2, and according to Stop HS2 campaigners, none of these will be met. Stop HS2 Convenor Joe Rukin, who will be joining Lizzy on her walk today said;
“HS2 will take money from local transport projects that will benefit local communities; it is planned to generate about 40,000 new journeys per day; it is likely to cost more than current services; it will not halt airport expansion, but enable it; it won’t help regeneration; and it will destroy the countryside, thereby failing all of CBTs six tests. The whole project is based on nice words and no substance. The M6 Toll and HS1 both prove that people will not pay extra money to save a couple of minutes, and that’s all we are talking about with HS2, saving a few minutes. When the cost of the Heathrow and HS1 links are factored in to the HS2 plans, we’ll be shelling out around £50bn, for this. Is a small number of people saving a couple of minutes really worth that sort of money when everything else is being cut? No of course it isn’t.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
- Williams will start Day 3 in Hints, Staffordshire at 1pm and will arrive at the M6 Toll at approximately 5pm, crossing via Gilson Drive (B46 1DN), which leads Coleshill Manor, a property which will be destroyed by HS2.
- For more information contact Lizzy Williams on 07842 164880 or Joe Rukin on 07811 371880.
- Stop HS2 is the national group campaigning on behalf of anti-HS2 action groups up and down the proposed route.
- On Sunday 5th September a mass walk of the Kenilworth Greenway to Burton Green (both of which will be destroyed by HS2) is planned, involving several action groups in Warwickshire and the West Midlands.
- Details of the Kenilworth Greenway walk are;
- Walking from the North- Contact Lizzy Williams 07842 164880
i. High ground to the north of Didington Lane (B92 0BY) at 10am
ii. Patrick Farm, Meriden Lane (B92 0LT) 10.30am
iii. The Railway Inn, Balsall Common 12.30-1.30pm (CV7 7EF).
- Walking from the South- Contact Joe Rukin 07811 371880.
i. Meet between 12 & 1pm for 1pm set off at the Virgins & Castle, High Street, Kenilworth (CV8 1LY)
- Cycling from the South- Contact Joe Rukin 07811 371880.
i. Meet at Abbey Fields Car Park, Bridge Street, Kenilworth (CV8 1BP) at 11.30am for 13.5 ‘HS2 Tour’, taking in Kenilworth, Stareton, Stoneleigh, Crackley & Burton Green.
- Events at Burton Green Village Hall (CV8 1PL) between 2pm and 5pm – Contact Jerry Marshall 07941 017236.
- 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
- 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.