Convention Update

This article is about the 2011 Stop HS2 Convention. For details on the 2013 Stop HS2 Convention, click here.

National awareness of the impending Armageddon for the countryside proposed by High Speed 2 and the appalling waste of £34 billion tax payer’s money is gathering momentum this week.

Huge interest from sustainable transport experts, politicians, the media and the public is attracting them to the emergency STOP HS2 National Convention to be held on 19th February 2011.

Some of the confirmed speakers within the line up are:

  • Christian Wolmar
  • Professor John Whitelegg
  • Mike Nattrass MEP
  • Geoffrey Robinson MP

The British public are hitting back at the consistent attacks on our environment by the Government which are in complete contradiction to David Cameron’s promise of “green growth”. Join us at the convention to hear how HS2 guarantees to destroy thousands of acres of irreplaceable woodland and habitats, not threatens, it WILL destroy for ever, if we allow it to go ahead!

The Save Our Woodland appeal to save the Forestry Commission woodlands from sell off reached over 200,000 within 2 days, an overwhelming message that the British public see the countryside as one of our most important assets and one we are not prepared to sacrifice for greed. There are millions of trees and vast areas of ancient and bio diverse woodland at threat from HS2. HS2 is a much greater threat and the scale is simply not understood yet by the British public. Please help us spread the word!

Join those of us who have examined the supporting evidence for HS2 and have found it to be absolutely flawed; there is NO BUSINESS CASE, NO ENVIRONMENTAL CASE and NO MONEY TO PAY FOR IT.

We need you, as a morally and environmentally aware person to help spread the word about the largest White Elephant this country has ever seen stampeding through Westminster and threatening to trample our countryside including at least two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, flood plains and rapidly diminishing farmland. HS2 is not sustainable growth and is being mis-sold as such by the Government and pro high speed people who do not understand the speed intended is not carbon efficient and Mr Hammond refuses to address.

Please join us for all or part of the day at our convention. The venue was formerly the Royal Agricultural Showground and will be cut through by HS2 so you will be able to see for yourself how HS2 will destroy this ancient part of Shakespeare country and will decimate local economies that will not have stations.

Lizzy Williams

Chairman STOP HS2

26 comments to “Convention Update”
  1. just like to recommend to NICK that he may like to readv view on peti tion page 1 .30225 to 264 it may stop him making glib remarks about those who oppose his pet project that could destroy so much.i have not shouted.



    • I was amused to read the Birmingham Mail’s headline:

      “High speed rail project wins crucial backing”

      So who was that? Christian Wolmer, Geroge Mombiot? Er….. no. It was the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The most senior minister in a government comitted to HS2 now backs it. Good heavens!! We’ll soon hear the Prime Minister is in favour of it too. I look forward to the headlines.

      Oh, and where did George Osborne make the speech? Birmingham. Surprise, surprise. Was his conversion on the road to Birmingham?

      Worth a good laugh if it wasn’t so drearily predictable.

    • Did you see that we now have over 30,000 signatures on the online petition, elaine?

      Thank you to everyone who has already signed it.

  4. so you think that the general public would prefer to be told what it will cost in 2025 pounds. How is that more relevant surely it is easier to understand it in current prices ? .

    The downturn in the economy means that projects are not actually costing as much as envisaged. Also I dont mean to be a bore and repeat what i have already posted but the hs2 figures quoted are from 2009 not from 10 or 20 years ago and they include the 40% treasury bias for inflationary costs ! so lets from now on say that the cost of the full network is £24 billion in 2009 pounds. and london birmingham is £12 billion.

  5. Any claims and counter claims regarding costs, passenger flow predictions, alleged environmental benefits, etc, etc, only go to emphasise why there must be a public inquiry into the government’s proposals. Presumably Mr Burgess would agree?

  6. It is interesting that Nick gives President Obama as an authority in this matter. As I have said before the economics of, and rationale for, HSR depend on distance, population density, environmental impact and ease of construction. The California proposal is for 800 miles of track through vast stretches of empty country. It is also goes for the European maximum speed, not the 400kph that HS2 is designed for.

    In case you think that there is unananimous support for HSR in that enormous country, thing again. The whole project reeks of political expediency. See this post from yesterday, 26 Jan:

    • oh come on !! what about sacremento los angeles sand diego san francisco !!!!!!!!!!! and many other towns and cities. there wouldnt be many passengers for a line that ran 800 miles through unpopulated countryside !

      what about japan then ?

      • Of course there are big cities in California. Even I would find it unbelievable that an HSR would be built without large centres of population to use it. I was making the point that distances were greater and the population less. In fact California has a land area 80% larger than the UK with 60% of the population. That says to me they can build it with less disruption, even though there may be some tricky topography.

      • Oh, I forgot to mention Japan. Their economic performance over the last 20 years has earned them the description ‘economic basket case’. Not very encouraging for those who say HS2 will transform our economy.

      • So if you are taking out a loan or mortgage you don’t look at the final repayment figure? Many people would do the same but they are in effect kidding themselves about the true cost of their contract.

        HSR at the right speed can be sustainable economic investment but High Speed 2 is simply not.

        • hsr at a slower speed might not even be hsr at all ! the service speed for hs2 is planned to be the same as that for new lines in france, spain california and elsewhere. lizzy can you confirm if you would therefore be more supportive of the project if the max speed was lower or would you still be opposed ?

    • so you are saying that anywhere they have high speed rail is for political reasons you dont think there might be more to it then that.The people in california VOTED SPECIFICALLY for high speed rail. Most of the people in america opposed to high speed rail dont even want their fellow citizens to have any healthcare if they cant afford it ! I am not sure that you want to align yourself with extremely right wing views like that !

      and we keep coming back to the maximum speed of hs2. the latest rail connection between france and spain opened last month has a maximum service speed of 350kph (220 mph). HS2 is to be built to allow 400 kph (240 mph) to cater for future advances in speed but the maximum service speed is planned to be 350kph (220mph). the same !

      I sense you would be less opposed to hs2 if the maximum speed were lower. This would obviously reduce emissions from the railway but might mean less people switch to rail from more polluting modes. Southeastern trains did a survey about the 6.5 million users of HS1. 8% of respondents advised that they had switched from cars. 7% were new journeys it is true but the trains were already running with the approx 5.5 million who switched from the existing railway. It is worth noting that the company advises that it is not having a problem filling those seats on the so called classic network. for the majority the service is worthwhile and is an improvement.

      • You say that Californians voted for HSR. Sort of. They actually voted in 1998 for Proposition 1A to authorise $9.5bn worth of bonds with central government picking up most of the tab. The State has since been heavily criticised in court for misleading wording of the proposition annd there is a strong likelihood of a vote to repeal. The fight is still very much on. You might be interesed in this recent news item:

        “During the campaign for Proposition 1A in 2008, supporters estimated that the fare to ride the high-speed train between Los Angeles and San Francisco would be about $55 for a one-way ticket.

        However, in 2010, the California High Speed Rail Authority is estimating that it will actually charge a one-way fee of about $105, escalating to about $125 for a one-way ticket in 2035.

        Doubling (or nearly-doubling) the fare from the original estimate of $55 to the 2010 estimate of $105 means that the expected ridership will drop by about one-third because of affordability issues.”

        Not sure where your point about “extreme right wing views” comes from. The pieces I have read have been very reasonable. Not quite sure why we are getting into American health care and how there could be any connection with HSR.

        As to speed I presume you have read the CPRE report. It is not running speed that is important but the design for 400kph means that the track has to be straighter and cannot follow exisitng tansport routes.

        • it is very interesting that you bring up the so-called increases in the proposed fare levels for california hsr – what actually happened is that the federal auditors have changed the way in which the accounts were calculated to be in future dollars. so the costs are in fact the same as those which were quoted in current dollars.

  7. I dont think Armageddon referred to hs2 !!! I really think your description is somewhat over the top !

    HS2 does include a 40% optimism bias. so if we say that the maximum cost for the entire y network is £34 billion so the cost without this bias is about £24 billion. and for the approx 120 miles to birmingham, costed with bias at £17billion, would be based on a non-biased figure of about £12 billion. This is very similar to the actual cost per mile of hs1 which included a higher proprtion of tunnelling then is envisaged for hs2. And Phillip Hammond announced that £12 billion has been allocated to the first leg of HS2 –

    President Obama restated his support for high speed rail in the usa particularly the real high speed planned California and Florida projects as part of his plan to reduce Americas dependency on oil through a switch to less environmentally destructive modes of transport.

  8. You claim that HS2 will cost £34bn. That is not true. Where do you get that figure from?

    HS2 report published in March 2010 says cost of HS2 London to West Midlands is in the range £15.8 to £17.4 bn and total cost of Y network to Manchester and Leeds is about £30bn. Nowhere in the HS2 report is £34bn mentioned. Currently only Lon-WMids is planned so you should state the £15.8-£17.4bn figure.

    Your site says check the facts so I suggest you do a bit of fact checking yourself and state the true cost of HS2.

      • Thank you for the report by Dr John Savin, who is not a transport economist. So let’s be clear. The £34bn figure you keep quoting as the cost for building HS2 is made up. It includes a 60% optimism bias, a 20% tax boost and inflation added to the HS2 figure to come up with a false cash figure.

        In project appraisal you always use a cost amount in present values because stating the benefits in present values as well, enables accurate comparison. HS2’s £15.8-17.4bn cost already includes optimism bias after certain risk factors have been fully costed in their £11.8bn base cost, so the 40% they have used is fully justified. Dr Savin’s 60% is double counting.

        The tax and inflation additions by Dr Savin are red herrings and cannot be justified in economic or accounting terms. I suggest that before you quote widely the £34bn figure as the cost for HS2, you check your facts and not use an unverified report by a non-expert.

        • Clearly the figures in the HS2 main report are not what will actually be spent, as HS2 Ltd say they are given in 2009 prices.

          It might be appropriate for Department for Transport mandarins to use 2009 figures internally when performing the cost benefit analysis of this road scheme versus that rail scheme. But 2009 figures don’t really help the general public, who are not project accountants, to understand what the real bill for the proposed railway will be.

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