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12/11/10 – TRANSPORT SELECT COMMITTEE CALL STOP HS2 TO GIVE EVIDENCE TO INQUIRY

The Parliamentary Transport Select Committee have called Stop HS2 to give oral evidence to their ‘Transport and the Economy’ enquiry at the end of November. The formal remit of the committee is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department for Transport and its associated public bodies.

The enquiry comes from a starting point of reviewing if conditions have changed since the Eddington Transport Study. In 2006, Sir Rod Eddington was scathing of the way plans for high-speed rail were progressing. His report stated;

“It is critical that the government enforces a strong, strategic approach to option generation, so that it can avoid momentum building up behind particular solutions and the UK can avoid costly mistakes which will not be the most effective way of delivering on its strategic priorities.”

“The risk is that transport policy can become the pursuit of icons. Almost invariably such projects – ‘grands projets’ – develop real momentum, driven by strong lobbying. The momentum can make such projects difficult – and unpopular – to stop, even when the benefit/cost equation does not stack up, or the environmental and landscape impacts are unacceptable.”
 
“The approach taken to the development of some very high-speed rail line options has been the opposite of the approach advocated in this study. That is, the challenge to be tackled has not been fully understood before a solution has been generated. Alternative options do not, therefore, appear to have been fully explored so it is not clear what the highest return solution to a problem would be; nor indeed is the challenge clear.”

 

Stop HS2 will give evidence on 30th November, the same day that HS2 Ltd will appear in front of the committee. Stop HS2 Convenor Joe Rukin said;

“We welcome this opportunity to present the facts to the Transport Select Committee and find it extremely encouraging that, following the success of the Stop HS2 Lobby Day in Parliament last month, that such a high level respected committee is taking the opposition to HS2 seriously. The Committee want to know if the appraisal process for transport projects is fit for purpose, and HS2 presents the perfect case study showing the decision making process is totally flawed.”

“In the evidence we have already submitted we have shown that HS2 has been justified by; inflating passenger demand, including unrealistic benefits, stretching the rules on costs, assuming no competitive response, ignoring shifting trends, ignoring all detrimental effects, overstating the economic benefits, ignoring the environmental impact and ignoring the alternatives.”

“Sir Rod Eddington warned of political momentum building up behind ‘iconic projects’ which would be costly mistakes. Now there is real momentum behind the campaign to Stop HS2 dead in its unbuilt tracks.”

  1. 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.
  2. Written evidence submitted to the Select Committee by Stop HS2 can be found at http://www.stophs2.org/press-releases/222-stop-hs2-evidence-to-the-transport-select-committee.
  3. Relevant sections of the Eddington Transport Study can be found at  http://collections.europarchive.org/tna/20100408160254/http://www.dft.gov.uk/adobepdf/187604/206711/executivesummary.pdf from 1.138 at the bottom of page 49 to page 51 and http://collections.europarchive.org/tna/20100408160254/http://www.dft.gov.uk/adobepdf/187604/206711/volume3.pdf from 4.168 on page 90 to page 96.
  4. Stop HS2 are being called as part of session of panels to be held on 30th November. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news/te—4th-ev-session/.
  5. Previous press releases from Stop HS2 can be found at http://www.stophs2.org/press-releases.
  6. For more details from Stop HS2 contact Joe Rukin on 07811 371880, Lizzy Williams on 07842 164880 or Penny Gaines on 01296 655613.
  7. People can sign the Stop HS2 petition at via the Stop HS2 website or directly at http://www.gopetition.co.uk/petitions/stop-hs2/sign.html.

 

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