Voters don’t want HS2

The Sunday Times has regular yougov polls of the attitudes of ordinary voters.  From time to time, these polls also ask people’s opinions about HS2.

These independent polls show that voters do not want HS2. Opposition to HS2 is far greater than support.

Graph showing support/opposition to HS2, up to Oct 2014

Graph showing support/opposition to HS2, up to Oct 2014

What’s more the data shows that in every polling category, more people oppose HS2 than support it:

Opposition for HS2 by party, to Oct 2014

Opposition to HS2 by party, to Oct 2014

  • in every age group more people oppose HS2 then support it,
  • from every region more people oppose HS2,
  • from every social band more people oppose Hs2,
  • regardless of political party, more people oppose HS2

Both phases of HS2 are unpopular:

Breakdown of Phase 1/Phase2 support, or lack of it!!

Breakdown of Phase 1/Phase2 support, or lack of it!!

That’s not to say every single poll run by every organisation says the same thing. For instance, Jerry Blackett told the Lords Economic Affairs Select Committee that the businesses in Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce support HS2, claiming it was due to being able to have a “dialogue” with them.  (It should be noted that HS2 Ltd paid Birmingham Chambers of Commerce a £14,400 ‘patronage fee’ for 2013/14.)

This is typical of polls which support HS2 – a niche group likely to contain people who are initially favourable to HS2 anyway.

Independent polls are clear: voters don’t want HS2.

12 comments to “Voters don’t want HS2”
  1. Reply to John Webber

    And meanwhile back in the real word thousands of people’s lives are being ruined by people saying one thing about full and fair compensation and doing the opposite.If the benefits are truly 15bn per annum!!!?? whats the problem with doing the right thing.

    • Sorry, John, that was posted prematurely!
      The point I was trying to make, is that with any major infrastructure project which involves the people living nearby, there are precedents and limits already established with regard to compensation.

      The only new rail line with which Hs2 can be compared is the Channel Tunnel Link; HS1.

      Interviewed by the BBC, local residents stated that they had been very apprehensive before the construction began and that obviously the building phase did cause mess and disruption, but that when the work was complete and the line came into use, the result was far less than they had feared and been led to believe.

      You may well claim that the highway projects I mentioned were not at all in the same league as Hs1 or 2.

      You are quite right. They aren’t.

      A railway twin track, conventional or even High Speed ,occupies a space half the width of a typical dual carriageway, or less than a third the width of a 3 lane motorway.

      But read the barrage of leaflets and posters from the “STOP” campaign.

      They would have you believe that “HS2 tracks will be much wider…” than the photo of HS1,”the width of two three lane motorways, at least” (Heart of England HS Action Group)
      ( Ignorance or a lie?)
      “Up to 20 000 people blighted in S. Northants alone” (SNAG)
      “HS2 tracks are up to 100m wide” VoxOpp. HS2 and Mixbury.
      …an urban motorway railway…a major path of destructionright through the Chilterns AONB” as no plant life would be allowed within 100m of the track.(CClr. Martin tett, now leader of Bucks. CC, quoted by the Bucks Free Press)

      The sound of fast railway, especially when running through a cutting or flanked with “noise fencing” may be loud but is intermittent and compares favourably with the continuous background roar made by road vehicles, especially HGVs, redoubled with the sound of tyres in the wet when it is raining.

      Stand beside the canal near Watford Gap and compare the combined effects of the M1, the A5 and the West Coast line, or just listen to the A.43 on the bank beside Brackley.( We don’t hear it when we are inside our cars, listening to our radios, but outside the continuous rumble and roar of engines is most intrusive.)

      It’s no wwonder so many people are concerned- scared even.
      Pressure groups have taken any and every opportunity of telling them how terrible the threats will prove to be , to exaggerate the negatives and talk up the cost in the attempt to cause the Government to cancel- so far in vain.

      A crowded theatre does not need to actually burn to provoke a panic in response to the cry of “FIRE!”
      But to create such a situation has always been regarded not only as reprehensible and irresponsible, but as downright criminal.

  2. Looking at the article above, I find it shocking that the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce could be bought off so cheaply. But they also are clearly unaware of the fact that their ‘activities’ and those behind HS2 are in dircet violation of everyone;s Human Rights.

    Check out Article 5 of the evidence posted 9 months ago now, on this campaign page as it stated in both of these legally binding Covenants that:-

    Nothing in the present Covenant may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights or freedoms recognized herein, or at their limitation
    to a greater extent than is provided for in the present Covenant.

    Yet everything about HS2 is aimed at destroying peoples rights, beginning with their right to keep their own roof over their heads, as well as the destruction of many communities along the route.

    That kind of State sanctioned destruction of property and human rights should have died out after WW2. Whereas every UK Governments’ continued aims to even deny the existence of these rights and their obligations to comply with them, is the definition of evil. Which, according to any dictionary is described as ‘profoundly immoral or wrong’ and ‘deliberately causing great harm, pain or upset’.

    So if you do lobby your MP please mention this too, as it’s about time they all knew that we are now on their backs about it.

    • Does this ‘Human Rights’ principle apply in a similar way elsewhere…to road widening schemes, to urban ‘regeneration’ programmes,compulsery clearance of sub standard or dangerous buildings,etc?

      I think that you will find that even freehold rights do not grant absolute immunity from the legally enforced needs and demands of the local or national community.
      Where those needs are legitimate, then adequate compensation needs to be made.

      Abuse only arises when the powers are applied capriciously or the restitution is insufficient .

        • John, I think that if you read some of the recent transcripts of the Parliamentary Commitee hearing and discussing the petitions relating to the HS2 project, you can confirm the basis for compensation would be based on the likely value of the threatened property before the line was announced and a percentage in addition.

          This might well be varied depending on circumstances and judged case by case.

          For example, the farming couple who have invested in an expensive new fish farm, and who took out a large bank loan to pay for it, only to discover that they were in the direct line of the projected railway; I hope and trust that they would be treated and compensated more generously than say some speculator who might have bought a house from an elderly couple, who had been panicked into a cut price sale, due to all the adverse or exaggerated stories they had been told.

          The point remains; People have the right to redress.
          They don’t have the power of veto.

          • Thanks John but I was hoping for your opinion based on what you would expect if your property was blighted through no fault of your own

            • I’m saying that there is a principle as a basis and starting point for assessing what is fair and reasonable in each individual case.

              Everyone has a right to be compensated if they are genuinely disadvantaged and damaged, but nobody has an absolute right of veto, with regards to major developments -roads, railways airports, new town type type developments and urban renewal programmes deemed to be in national or regional interest.

              Hence the planning and appeal processes so as to resolve conflicting interests as fairly as possible.

            • Sorry JW, I don’t understand. I’m not talking about anybody vetoing anything.

              I’m asking whether you think it is fair that ( broadly ) people up to 120 metres ( in rural areas ) will be compensated, people between 120 metres and 300 meters can have a few quid and people over 300 meters from the line can go hang.

              A simple yes or no will do.

  3. The HS2 additional provision 2 will be debated after the May Election. Please persuade your MP candidate to debate against the proposed changes. Crowds can obtain pledges from MP candidates to vote for your local interests and requirements and against the Additional Provisions 2.

    Time to change the HS3 route plan to more affordable rail travel for more local people and not for the few.

    Crowd voting for better loacl representation by an MP can change the arrangments that party whipped group think has entrenched in the UK Parliament.

    With all the promises of jam tomorrow it is questionable why the leaders and their inner circle and Civil Servants have achieved so little to make people more prosperous.

    Please assert your local rights and arrange that a MP follows your needs first. Increase the numbers of MP candidates opposing this HS2 before MP please.

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