An update from Lizzy

Yesterday saw the announcement of the National Public Consultation on High Speed 2. This was a momentous day for us and I spent most of it feeling sick. The phone started ringing at 0700 and didn’t stop until after the beacons.

Anyone associated with the anti HS2 movement was barred from the “invitation only” launch event in Birmingham. Because of this I aimed to spend the day at home being able to deal with the huge amount of constant press interest and did at one point find myself being whisked into Oxford for the BBC.

STOP HS2 made virtually every newspaper in the country and the words they choose most often to use from my statements were

Lizzie Williams, chairman of the Stop HS2 group, believes the project is “a complete waste of taxpayers’ money when we can least afford it”.

I was also on BBC Radio Northampton Breakfast show, BBC online, BBC News 24 live, BBC Oxford TV and Radio pre-records, The Politics Show (note they have cut this short when I challenged the insulting behaviour of the two guests).

Congratulations to all the Beacon organisers last night – an amazing success – well done! I was at Thorpe Mandeville and ITV Anglia filmed for themselves, ITN and Channel 4. Please do send any photos etc. in to It was fantastic to see all the STOP HS2 T-shirts and signs and Penny on Meridian, with Joe on Midlands Today! I still need to watch the footage from elsewhere.

I know you are desperate for advice on what to do now and on the details of the consultation. Please bear with us will we examine the documentation released. Our advice right at this moment is read, digest, do not respond before you are certain you have understood the facts about HS2, the questions being asked  and the consultation process itself. If you do live on the line you will no doubt we waiting to attend one of the roadshows a list of which you can find here – please do print this out and display in your community so those not on line know what is going on.

I will ensure STOP HS2 examines all the consultation documentation thoroughly and collaborates with all our partners to come back to you with the more advice as soon as possible.


Government Roadshows

March 24

Euston Mobile Exhibition

Location: Euston Square Gardens (West), Euston Station

Date: March 24th, 2011

  • March25

Euston Mobile Exhibition

Location: Euston Square Gardens (West), Euston Station

Date: March 25th, 2011

  • March26

Queens Park Mobile Exhibition

Location: Salusbury Road Car Park

Date: March 26th, 2011

  • March28

Swiss Cottage Mobile Exhibition

Location: Swiss Cottage Farmers’ Market

Date: March 28th, 2011

  • March30

Ruislip and Ickenham Exhibition

Location: Winston Churchill Hall

Date: March 30th, 2011

  • March31

Ruislip and Ickenham Exhibition

Location: Winston Churchill Hall

Date: March 31st, 2011

  • April01

Old Oak Common Mobile Exhibition

Location: Westfield London Shopping Centre

Date: April 1st, 2011

  • April02

Euston Exhibition

Location: Camden Centre

Date: April 2nd, 2011

  • April04

Camden Mobile Exhibition

Location: Castlehaven Youth Centre

Date: April 4th, 2011

  • April07

Perivale and Ealing Exhibition

Location: Greenford Assembly Hall

Date: April 7th, 2011

  • May09

Chalfont St. Giles Mobile Exhibition

Location: Blizzards Yard Car Park

Date: May 9th, 2011

  • May10

Aylesbury Exhibition

Location: Stoke Mandeville Stadium

Date: May 10th, 2011

  • May11

Aylesbury Exhibition

Location: Stoke Mandeville Stadium

Date: May 11th, 2011

  • May12

Great Missenden Mobile Exhibition

Location: Black Horse Pub Car Park

Date: May 12th, 2011

  • May13

Wendover Exhibition

Location: Wendover Memorial Hall

Date: May 13th, 2011

  • May14

Wendover Exhibition

Location: Wendover Memorial Hall

Date: May 14th, 2011

  • May17

Greatworth Mobile Exhibition

Location: Greatworth Sports and Social Club Car Park

Date: May 17th, 2011

  • May18

Amersham Exhibition

Location: Amersham and Chiltern Rugby Football Club

Date: May 18th, 2011

  • May19

Amersham Exhibition

Location: Amersham and Chiltern Rugby Football Club

Date: May 19th, 2011

  • May21

Waddesdon Mobile Exhibition

Location: Waddesdon Church of England School Car Park

Date: May 21st, 2011

  • May23

Washwood Heath Mobile Exhibition

Location: Hodge Hill Constituency Office Car Park

Date: May 23rd, 2011

  • May24

Chipping Warden Mobile Exhibition

Location: Village Hall Car Park

Date: May 24th, 2011

  • May25

Upper Boddington Mobile Exhibition

Location: Boddington Village Hall Car Park

Date: May 25th, 2011

  • May26

Calvert Green Mobile Exhibition

Location: Calvert Green Community Centre Car Park

Date: May 26th, 2011

  • May27

Brackley Exhibition

Location: Brackley Leisure Centre

Date: May 27th, 2011

  • May28

Brackley Exhibition

Location: Brackley Leisure Centre

Date: May 28th, 2011

  • June02

Ladbroke Mobile Exhibition

Location: Bell Inn Car Park

Date: June 2nd, 2011

  • June03

Southam Exhibition

Location: Graham Adams Centre

Date: June 3rd, 2011

  • June04

Southam Exhibition

Location: Graham Adams Centre

Date: June 4th, 2011

  • June06

Cubbington Mobile Exhibition

Location: Cubbington Spors and Social Club Car Park

Date: June 6th, 2011

  • June07

Balsall Common Mobile Exhibition

Location: Jubliee Centre Car Park

Date: June 7th, 2011

  • June08

Lichfield Exhibition

Location: Lichfield Guildhall

Date: June 8th, 2011

  • June09

Lichfield Exhibition

Location: Lichfield Guildall

Date: June 9th, 2011

  • June10

Burton Green Mobile Exhibition

Location: Village Hall Car Park

Date: June 10th, 2011

  • June11

Water Orton Exhibition

Location: The Link

Date: June 11th, 2011

  • June13

Kenilworth Exhibition

Location: Holiday Inn

Date: June 13th, 2011

  • June14

Kenilworth Exhibition

Location: Holiday Inn

Date: June 14th, 2011

  • June15

Hampton in Arden Mobile Exhibition

Location: Sports Centre Car Park

Date: June 15th, 2011

  • June17

Birmingham Exhibition

Location: Waterhall (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery)

Date: June 17th, 2011

  • June18

Birmingham Exhibition

Location: Waterhall (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery)

Date: June 18th, 2011

28 comments to “An update from Lizzy”
  1. I am generally in the Pro HS2 camp, but I think the stop HS2 campaign raises some strong points that should be addressed going forward.

    However, I feel that many of the problems raised are surmountable and a lot of them are difficult to verify given the amount of claim, counterclaim and misinformation that seems to surround the pro’s and con’s of HS2.

    I think that in order to stop HS2, your group must discover something fundamentally wrong with High speed rail – that is specific to the UK – given the success of other lines across the globe (although they are not perfect of course).

    This will be tough, particularly as it seems the political will is there.

    The general perception, in any lobbying/protest group is that they have a particular vested interest. It certainly looks like you have some very dedicated people involved, but you cannot deny that to 99% of the population it makes more sense to give up so much time to protect your “back yard” (for want of a better expression) than to protect against future possible spending prolificacy or energy problems.

    I hope you get a decent result from your action – even though I would like the line constructed – and your thoughts are both accounted for and acted upon if they are well founded.

  2. I believe Mr HammondS constituency is in the area of heathrows 3rd runway .No wonder he would rather have a train away from his back yard .Seems bham council and airport will have to help pay if they want a station.I feel sorry for the folk of bham if they have to pay with their council tax and their taxes.
    Gary there are subsides and subsides.With the cost of fuel rising, the commuter trains from smaller towns to the cities need to be updated .Fairness for all NOT the wealthy few ,as you must be Gary with the oppinion you hold.

    • i dont know i am sure there will be a range but at least i dont just produce figures out of thin air ! I think what critics do is find the most expensive fare they can and then say that well this will be the hs2 ticket price. prove that all tickets will be £300

  3. Heathrow Airport recently had its plans for a 3rd runway scrapped. In order to stop Heathrow becoming congested, alternate plans have to be made. In case you havent noticed, there is a recommendation in the HS2 project to build a spur to the airport. 11% of Heathrow movements are domestic flights – removing these would free up around 70 or so landing slots a day. Birmingham Airport has capacity – and a high speed link to London in 40 minutes is a very attractive alternative.

    There are thousands of rail fares which attract a government subsidy now Elaine….that has always been the case due to public service obligations, its the same situation with thousands of bus services as well up and down the country.

    • Heathrow already has another runway if theyr’e really desperate.

      It’s just up the road at RAF Northolt- now just used for Government operations, but which was formally the main airport for services to Europe.

      As regards the big car park near the Birmingham Airport/ NEC station, surely the “Park and Ride” principle is well established, given the way that housing development is spread and no longer clustered around urban centres, the lack of local stations and the scarcity of local buses.

      • Northolt lol !!!!!!!!!!! Dear me…..and how would aircraft transfer to another terminal or hangar for maintainance ???????

    • Elaine – indeed Mr Hammonds seat is near Heathrow, but obviously nowhere near Gatwick or Stansted who also have had their aspirations for an extra runway scrapped.

      Birmingham taxpayers shouldnt worry – they already have a station at the airport.

      Commuter services are already getting some serious attention – the Thameslink programme will enable commuters north and south of the M25 to reach central London on 24 trains an hour each wayonce complete. Add in the Crossrail east to west project, and Farringdon station is going to end up as the UKs busiest in the not too distant future.

      In the provinces, the Northern Hub project is designed to enhance rail travel in the Norths commuter land including Manchester Leeds Liverpool Preston York and all stations inbetween. This has already kicked off……

      Do some research Elaine – you may find out a few things that are already happening!!!

      Im not wealthy – I have an ordinary job to which I commute up here in the North

  4. Can you tell me nick ,why the chap the other night was saying it would be great HS2 could bring people from london to fill the spare capacity at Brum airport.The fares would have to be heavily subsidised by the taxpayer ,Have you actually checked the cost of long distance rail?Less car journeys? so why do they have plans for a 10,000 car park.Oh of course it is easily accessable we all live within walking distance.get real nick

    • i am very real and i dont make the kind of statements like stophs2 does. fares are already heavily subsidised on the existing network. and of course not everyone will have an hs2 stop near them, only the large cities and towns where hang on most of the population lives ! so you dont want it subsidised but you want it to stop everywhere in smaller places with fewer passengers so that it would need a subsidy !!!!!

      and the reason for hs2 is capacity capacity capacity. it wil provide another 2 tracks (22 metres wide, not the width of wembley) from london to birmingham and eventually leeds and manchester. so there will then be spare capacity on the existing lines so that services can improve, more local stations can then be served, passengers will get seats and with the extra capacity and the speed advantage of hs2. rail fares on other lines may be come less expensive. remember we have the mcnulty investigation in how to reduce the costs and hence fares of the railway in general.

      and why do people keep mentioning the current economic situation as reason to not do anything in the future. hs2 and railway electrification and thameslink/crossrail is actually one of the few very good things this government is doing . These projects are creating jobs and much needed transport infrastructure now and when they are nearing completion hs2 will be ramping up to carry this momentum forward..

      All three parties agree with hs2/hsr as does president obama and a host of european and other countries. it is inconceivable that they are all wrong and only stop progess (sorry hs2) are right.

      The underlying causes of the 2008 meltdown are still with us. we either deal with these through large investments or the meltdown will happen again and again. Oil is over $100 again and the banking system hasnt really been reformed. the way forward is renewable energy and more efficient transport because people will still want to travel despite whatever advances in technology such as broadband may be made in the future.

  5. …fair and all, but can they at the very least accept that there are people in this country who believe passionately that the beauty of the landscape should be respected and preserved – don’t accuse StopHS2 of being yokels and luddites – more haste, less speed.

    • Where has anyone accused StopHS2 of being yokels and luddites? As far as I m concerned , its perfectly acceptable for people to have passionate views on the landscape…..I would only challenge anoyone on facts they are presenting if I felt they were wrong. Be thankful that we live in a democracy where we can vote our political leaders out if we so wish…..some parts of the world dont have that……

    • Unlike the Pro-HS2 community we welcome open debate at, so whilst some people have annoying views, we think it is better to deal with them through reasoned debate. Our moderation policy is to block personal attacks, vulgarity and off-topic content. So please, tolerate Nick and respond to him in good spirit. After all, it is a great weakness of the pro-HS2 community that they rapidly resort to name calling.

    • why i getting up your nose ? is it because i try to point out when incorrect statements are made ?

      as i have said before, it is fair enough to be against hs2 for reasons of being near the line, disruption and pollution during construction, effects on local housing prices etc.

      but many people who are against hs2 just make statements without substantive proof. all i want is to have a reasoned debate based on the facts for and indeed against and make a rational decision.

      we cant base the decision of whether it will make people sick to travel on it, or that it will be like concrete bombs or that it will devastate massive swathes of countryside when it is only 22 metres wide – so not as wide as wembley then !.

      Critics have talked about armageddon and also say that it will only save a few minutes to birmingham when in fact it will reduce the time from 80 minutes to under 50 minutes. and the proposed terminus isnt miles out of the city centre as critics routinely and incorrectly state, is near moor street and less then a mile from new street (try googling it) and in any case through trains will run from day one.

      hs2 critics claim that the fares will all be £300 again with no shred of evidence whatsoever. or that it wont benefit the local area or existing network when it will clearly provide massive extra capacity by releasing all the through trains that currently run between our major cities. extra capacity should also mean lower prices as it is the congested nature of the railways that is helping to push prices up to try to actually reduce the latent demand for rail travel. critics say that it wont help reduce flights from manchester and birmingham but what about newcastle, eninburgh and glasgow ? and what about the through trains to europe that can run from say manchester and birmingham to places like paris. based on what is happening right now in many places it is inconceivable.

      and i believe that hs2 can make a noticeable impact on traffic on the m1 and m6 etc. we can see that at the moment existing rail has taken most of the air traffic on the manchester route. and car usage due to the recession and the huge price of fuel has also decreased. yet rail travel, even with high prices has increased !
      so people are still travelling but less by air and also car. would you not support hs2 if it took traffic off the m40 ?

      finally, the idea of expanding the existing network has proved to be less cost effective then building a new route.
      compare the cost of the west coast upgrade (£10 to £12 billion) with the stated cost of hs2 stage 1 (£12 billion plus 40% treasury optimism bias for possible overruns to a possible total of £17 billion). hs2 is predicted to bring in £2 for every £1 spent ! this seems like good value and better then that of upgrading the existing network !

      Upgrading is code for building new lines too but somewhere else please. Upgrading would also bring massive disruption of the network for years and years which would drive people literally back to more polluting and more dangerous forms of transport (air is statistically very safe like rail but roads kill over 2500 people every single year). Both of these modes cause much more pollution then does electric rail of any speed.

      See showing that it only produces 10% of the co2 then do short haul flights. Before anyone says it, i know that is due to nuclear power but electricity generation in the uk is set to be less carbon intensive by the time hs2 opens. And yes I know that offshore wind farms only produce power when the wind blows so you have to have backup facilities but as these will not be needed when the wind blows, this will reduce the amount of fossil fuels burnt.

      I have not stated anything that I dont believe or that i cannot provide evidence of. I have not insulted or been rude to anybody and i am not in the pay of the railways, government or construction companies.

      • nick, please keep blogging. you are keeping people here fresh and on their toes so they have to keep thinking and not just keep quoting. you actually are making a positive contribution to our campaign. thanks alot Nick. three cheers for Nick

  6. I would refer you to our facts page Gary. You will be aware that we have an entirely new set of documents to analyse and that should not be rushed.
    HS2’s first phase will NOT reduce air travel – there are NO FLIGHTS between Birmingham and London.

    • High-speed rail uses more energy and is not a low carbon solution either. It will not shift people from air travel.

      Lizzie – above is a comment from yourself…… is clearly incorrect. High Speed rail has already decimated air travel between the likes of Paris to Brussels, Madrid to Seville…..I could list numerous other examples. including Manchester and London Heathrow, which now has an alternative VHF service operated by Virgin Trains which can cover the journey centre to centre in just a shade over 2 hours. The reason it can do that is because of the investment in the WCML recently. However the pendolino trains dont operate at the maximum design speed because the infrastructure safety case wont allow it…….

      Of course there are no flights between Birmingham and London….in much the same way as there are no flights between Manchester and Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh, or Leeds and Newcastle………because it doesnt make commercial or common sense to operate flights between these points.

    • I thought Maria Eagle was wavering. Not much sign of it in her statement below. Presumably she has been ‘persuaded’ to follow the Labour Party line. Perhaps Lord Adonis got at her?

      “A national high speed network has the potential to bring our major cities closer together, boosting investment and economic growth in the north of England. That’s why it was Labour that set out plans for a high speed line from London to Birmingham but importantly also on to Leeds and Manchester.

      The Tory-led government is only planning to take powers to construct the line as far as Birmingham which casts real doubt on their long term commitment to delivering high speed rail in the north. They should think again and ensure the whole route is included in the forthcoming legislation.”

      • Maybe things are not as they first seem. Here is Mr Hammonds response to Maria Eagle’s suggestion.

        Hammond: Maria Eagle’s wrecking amendment would destroy High Speed 2 plans

        Responding to Maria Eagle’s attempts at a wrecking amendment to destroy the Government’s HS2 plan, Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond said:

        “The Coalition Government is absolutely committed to building a national high speed rail network to Manchester and Leeds.

        “What Maria Eagle is proposing is nothing more than a wrecking amendment. We would be unable to put the whole network in one bill and still pass it in this parliament and she knows it.

        “Now we have launched the national consultation it is time for Maria Eagle to stop playing silly games and swing behind her leader Ed Miliband’s clear support for High Speed Rail. It is important that all parties work together in the national interest to ensure that this crucial project goes ahead without delay.”

        • Thanks, Finmere, for the update on Hammond’s response to the Maria Eagle statement. Could someone tell me how the government can spend £100’s of millions with consultants to design the route north of Birmingham when the line from London to Birmingham does not yet have approval and hopefully never will. If HS2 does not reach Birmingham till 2026 I can’t see there is a screaming urgency to do this.

          • That’s a very good question. Worth writing to your MP I think, especially at this time of cuts and austerity.

            • Finmere, thanks for the suggestion about writing to my MP about work continuing on the line to Manchester/Leeds before the decision is made on London to Birmingham. Have now done so.

            • I must admit depsite being somewhat in the pro camp, I didnt actually understand why 2 bills are required……the money quoted is for the whole shooting match, not just London to Birmingham

  7. Our advice right at this moment is read, digest, do not respond before you are certain you have understood the facts about HS2,

    And what are the facts about HS2 Lizzie??………..seems a bit rich when you were stating elsewhere on this site that High Speed Rail has had no effect on reducing air travel between the relevant points, when in fact it has ( eg Paris to Brussels )

    • high speed rail has in some cases decimated air travel and in many cases reduced it significantly. to say it hasnt is not factual and is how stop hs2 comes unstuck by making all kinds of claims that cannot be substantiated. Spain and France are prime examples where rail has replaced air.

      furthermore, if you accept the eec defintion of high speed as being 125mph/200kmh (as accepted on stophs2 for romania for example) it is clear that both air and road traffic is reduced by trains going 125 mph or more.
      We do not have to look any further then our own 125mph lines to see this happening. since the wcml modernisation and the arrival of pendolinos air traffic from manchester has reduced and apparently their are also fewer people travelling by car yet rail passengers are at an all time high.

      the faster the train the more time advantage it obviously has. so the point is not that high speed rail uses more energy then does conventional rail but that it uses less energy then does rail or air. with current fuel prices there is more advantage. and the extra capacity that hs2 will release will allow more short and commuter journeys to be made by train rather then by car. so unless we have the extremely unlikely scenario of hs2 emptying the existing railway and no new users coming from cars (and flights for longer distances ie birmingham to paris)
      I believe that the carbon reducing effect of hs2 is understated especially as it doesnt take future renewable electricity into account. yeah i know the wind doesnt blow all the time but when it does you dont have to burn fossil fuels.

      • my 8 year old son is a great believer in the future of poo energy – yes apparently poo will be our saviour! I so hope revewable energy in Britain with our cold climate is going to go somewhere but I suspect we really need to be careful about the amount of electricity we use for many many years to come (still hoping the Hadron collider will one day show us a new way forward). I am a firm believer in the 125mph train but not the 250mph train for electricity eficieny reasons. May poo be our guide

  8. Lizzy’s treatment on the Politics Show was an utter disgrace,but the brash interviewing by Neill and his boorish guests will only rebound on them.Whatever the viewers’ opinions on HSR ,decent people will have nothing but sympathy for her,and see the hard and uncaring face of our opponents.

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