SELECT COMMITTEE ENQUIRE INTO HS2 FOLLOWING STOP HS2 LOBBY DAY
Stop HS2 campaigners are delighted following the announcement that the Transport Select Committee will undertake an enquiry into the economic case for HS2. The decision to ask for evidence is raised in the context of the enquiry looking into Transport and the Economy which is looking at the relationship between spending on transport and economic growth, both regionally and nationally.
Tony Baldry MP, who attended the Stop HS2 Lobby Day which was organised in conjunction with Andrea Leadsom MP on Monday 25th October said;
“At my suggestion, the Transport Select Committee is going to undertake an enquiry into the economic case for HS2 which will provide an opportunity for opponents of HS2 to also explain why they believe that money spent on HS2 will not give good value for money and that similar, or less, investment elsewhere in the existing rail infrastructure could be of greater benefit to the UK and UK regions in particular.”
“I am very pleased that the Transport Select Committee have agreed to my suggestion to undertake an enquiry into HS2. The presentations at the meeting at the House of Commons on Monday, organised by campaigners against HS2, raised numerous issues as to the effects and impact of HS2 and, of particular importance, questions about the alleged benefits as against significant costs.”
“An objective enquiry by the Transport Select Committee will give everyone concerned the opportunity to submit written evidence and have it considered by the Committee. It was quite clear from Monday’s meeting that this is not just a “Chilterns” issue. There are cities such as Lichfield, who are concerned about the direct impact on them of HS2, and cities such as Coventry, who fear that they will become a regional backwater if HS2 goes ahead.”
Joe Rukin, Convenor of national campaigning body Stop HS2 said;
“This is fantastic news, and exactly the sort scrutiny into HS2 which we were hoping to achieve from taking our arguments to Westminster. At the Lobby Day, Secretary of State Philip Hammond attempted to dismiss campaigners as nimbies, stating that ‘everyone in the room is probably from south of Kenilworth & Coventry’, despite the fact he said that in reply to North Warwickshire MP Dan Byles.”
“It is true that most of the opponents of HS2 do come from the places which will by directly affected by the building of the line, but that has meant that we have actually spent time looking into the plans and what we have found is shocking. Where we come from does not make what we are saying wrong and HS2 will not deliver on any of the key fundamentals of the business case. The academic studies and evidence going all the way back to the sixties show will not regenerate the regions, but it will just benefit London. It is not economically sound, as the passenger forecasts are pure fantasy and there are better alternatives which will deliver real benefits at much less cost. They claim domestic aviation will increase by 178% in 2033 as a justification, but it has been steadily declining. There are massive holes in the methodology used, such as not looking into the impact of video conferencing affecting future demand for travel and claiming all time on trains is wasted. To put it bluntly, the holes in the business case are wide enough to drive a high speed train through.”
STOP HS2 is the national group campaigning on behalf of anti-HS2 action groups up and down the proposed route. See http://www.stophs2.org.