Back from the Convention….

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

The Stop HS2 Convention went really well.

We were featured on the front page of BBC news website.

We had a fantastic turnout: the hall was full when Christian Wolmar spoke.  There was a huge range of other sessions in different rooms during the day, and we hope to put  information from some of the talks on the website over the coming days.

Thank you to every one who came and talked to us.

And a huge thank you to Lizzy Williams, our Stop HS2 chair,  who put in a huge effort to make the convention a success.


17 comments to “Back from the Convention….”
  1. It’s nice to know that in these times of austeity the government can afford to splash out £1,000,000 a day!

    Yes they are spending over a £1,000,000 of tax payers money each day so that in the future Londoners can get to the NEC or Birmingham Airport a bit quicker!

    Please count the days since this was posted…..

    All those poor councils who thought that their cuts were helping the national debt will now realise they’re short of money so that the big boys can have a new train set!

  2. James what is the point of life if you cant have recration there are so many sports and recreation areas that will go .
    They say it will make jobs ,how many is it taking? people are suffering with stress because of this continuos push
    for more and more expected from them.they need the peace and quiet to enjoy sports and walks with the children.
    There are better alternatives that need to be pursued,Far better that industry is spread around the country so there are jobs near to folks homes not pushing them for miles into bottlenecks.

  3. The business model (analysed by Dr John Savin) appears to be farcical. HS2 Ltd have included so many ‘fudge factors’ in their spreadsheets that it is difficult to take them seriously. With HS1 about to be sold off as completely unprofitable, no sane organisation will be prepared to invest so the tax-payers will foot the whole bill. Inflation and interest payments on the massive loans the government will need have not been factored in in a sensible way. So the tax-payers over the whole of the UK will end up writing-off the loan. The Dutch HS system is close to bankruptcy, the French TGV is massively subsidised to the detriment of the rest of their rail system; why do our MPs think we will be any different? The environmental model appears to be based on nuclear power and we have not got the capacity; fossil-fuel power stations will be even more heavily used, probably doubling the CO2 output, destroying the concept of ‘greener travel’. HS2 will only be stopped if ALL MPs, throughout the UK become aware of the deceipt contained in the present proposals and then demand that rail travel in ALL regions has sound investment.

  4. I’ve just watched Midlands Today and one of the German business men said that their high speed line has benefitted smaller towns along the route “as the housing is now cheaper” – well yes it would be cheaper who wants to live next to a noisy rail line.

    So HS2 are comparing themselves to the Germans, we are British and fought for that, why on earth are comparisons being made to the German system when they openly comment that housing prices are cheaper along the route.

    The concentration of the benefits are Birmingham and London, there are a lot of towns, villages and green spaces between the two that are going to be blighted by this route.

    Improvements do need to be made to the transport system, but if they can’t run a network rail or road at the moment why should we believe blindly that this will work. We are in a recession, people are making less journeys because of fuel prices. Have the Governement and HS2 heard of “tele conferencing or video conferencing” saves a lot of travel and a lot greener and cheaper!

  5. Most people that are against HS2 are living in the dark ages, they should come back to the present. All they care about is that how it will worsen their lives, they don’t realise that a lot more lives will be improved by the HS2. It will bring about considerable investment to the midlands and later the north. It will further reduce the amount of cars on the motorways heading to and from London. The current West coast mainline is already reaching its capacity so a new line is desperately needed.

    • Professor Geddes argues that investment is more likely to be sucked out of the midlands and the north and directed to London.

      Remember, there are 16 junctions on the M40. How much traffic on the motorway is London – Birmingham only? HS2 themselves say they might reduce traffic on the M1 by as much as 2%.That’s just 2 cars in every 100.

      And can the West Coast main line wait for 14 or 15 years?

      • So, once again it’ all about ACCESS.

        It is quite interesting, the number of people, totally opposed to the project, as it stands, who live around here in the path of the Line, and some I spoke to at the Stoneleigh Convention, if offered some intermediate stations, and therefore access to the Railway, said “That would quite different…”


  7. A very interesting day; thanks to all those who worked to organise the event- even if it was largely preaching to the converted, but where was Nick? A contribution from him could have been most interesting! Until next time.

  8. A great big thank you to all involved for a brillant day yesterday at Stoneleigh. The range and depth of
    information provided was excelent. A very special thanks to Lizzy Williams for taking the time to fit in
    an extra session in Restaurant!

    Kind regards

  9. HS2 highlights what a farce the privatisation of the railways is. If the railways were truly private the track would be sold off too, instead we have the private companies financed by the public purse through the back door. It would be wonderful to see roads sold off too, this would cut down on vehicle journeys and have a fine environmental outcome

    • I agree with you that privatisation is a farce the railways and roads are far too important strategically to be control by the narrower interests of private companies who by their nature are driven by the profit motive. both should have remained in public hands, especially with the amount of taxpayers money involved.

      the thing is that transport is not an end product people merely use it to get to where they are going not for the pleasure (or not!) of the trip itself. with railways you may always need subsidy from the taxpayer but the country and treasury will likely gain overall because of the increased economic activity that good transport brings and other externalities such as reduced car traffic, emissions and accidents and increased property values such as ashford. this is why it is so difficult for new private open access rail operators to make a profit in the traditional business sense of the word.

      • If the people of Ashford had paid for HS1 on their own then they could be rightly pleased at the increased prosperity that has come to the town. But in fact the whole country paid for HS1 which means that every taxpayer has paid a bit of money so that some in Ashford can see their house price go up. Worse the net benefit figure is less than 1, which means that not only are the so called ‘benefits of HS rail’ just a distribution from the many to the few, but also overall a waste of money.

        • Andrew, are you saying that the uk government cannot undertake any transport or infrastructure projects at all for strategic or economic reasons unless every single person in the country benefits from it ?? and of course ashford is just one place that has benefitted, so has most of kent and of course people from other places north of london use eurostar and the domestic services.and or course more and more people are using both services – 16 million last year so they benefitted ! unless you think they all are from ashford ! no wonder it is growing !

          a project can only benefit those who use it, those who stand to benefit from it and those whose local areas prosper from it. i dont have children but i have to pay for schools. some people never go to the doctor but they pay for the nhs. i live in hertfordshire but my taxes paid for the m40, and all kinds of things i never use or need. and that is just in the south of england. what about the m6 ? what about projects in the other countries within the uk ? your argument isnt logical.

          what if your local county council built a park that you didnt use in the next town or even your town ? would you expect to not have to pay for it out of your taxes. it seems a very selfish point to make.

          • Hi Nick,
            What I am trying to point out is that every time you and others try and justify HS2 with phrases such as “increased property values [or jobs] in Ashford” that this is EXACTLY the same situation that you accuse the ‘nimbys’ of – looking at a narrow interest group rather than the overall picture. It is fundamentally just as selfish for a group of people to get something built purely on the basis of their needs as it is for a different group to get something stopped on the basis of their needs.

            I’ll say it again: some people will clearly benefit lots from HS2, many more will use it, but as they are not the only ones paying for it then the bigger cost/benefit to the country is what matters. If HS2 would generate 8,000 jobs in Birmingham then that is great for Birmingham and explains why their chambers of commerce are mad keen. But if 7,999 of those jobs have just moved from Coventry and Wolverhampton then (for the nation) talking about ‘HS2 job creation’ is just political spin, or to be less polite, lying. The other benefits of HS2 are similarly great sounding, but don’t stand up to scrutiny on a value to the nation basis.

            I’m absolutely not against investment, and I don’t personally expect to have to use every park/road/train/hospital/nuclear submarine that the country has ever funded. I do however expect that my money is invested wisely, and not (as currently in the news wrt the MoD) funnelled towards very large projects that are being justified by a ‘culture of optimism’ rather than sound financial planning and genuine need.

    • Railway tracks were privatised.

      Railtrack was finally closed down after some years of confusion, contracting out and accidents; Hatfield, Potters Bar… .
      They thought they were a property company!

      Roads were privatised over two hundred years ago -and handed over to “Turnpike Trusts”.

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