What was said at the TSC on HS2

Today’s article was written by Andrew Bodman who watched the Transport Select Committee session on the case in favour of High Speed Rail on Tuesday  28th June

Several interesting points emerged from the second session of the Transport Select Committee (June 28th) in its review of high speed rail.

The cost benefit ratio for HS2 apparently provides a flimsy case – this view came from Professor David Begg who leads the Yes to High Speed Rail campaign.

Jim Steer (Greengauge 21) suggested that we may need an additional high speed north south line in the future. Later a similar sentiment was suggested by Geoff Inskip (Centro) who thought it might be better to four track the line from the outset. Are they both suggesting that we may have a capacity issue between London and Birmingham?

Geoffrey Piper (NW Business leadership Team) suggested that BBC Salford will become an international media centre which will create great demand for travel between London and Manchester. It is good to know that we have such a strong reason for building HS2.

Stephen Clark (Core Cities group) shares Lord Berkeley’s view (one of last week’s panellists) that there may be track congestion north of Lichfield between the opening of phase 1 and phase 2.

Daniel Moylan (Transport for London) who was also representing the Mayor had a number of fresh angles. He suggested that once HS2 phase 2 is completed, Euston may need another tube line to cope with the additional flow of passengers. Further information is awaited from the DfT; if this is the case, there would be an additional cost of £6-9bn. He also suggested that there could be issues in sharing a section of the North London Line for the connection to HS1, as the North London Line is experiencing significant commuter growth. He pointed out that the Old Oak Common site is very constrained by other features and has poor accessibility by road. Lastly he said that Heathrow is operating at full capacity on its two runways, and Birmingham airport does not address that issue for business travellers.

I have selected only a small number of points that were made in two and a half hours, and I accept that I am anti HS2. However the very purpose of setting up this Transport Select Committee investigation was to challenge the rationale for HS2.

Andrew Bodman

12 comments to “What was said at the TSC on HS2”
  1. John Williamsw.I agree we need to have a strategy meeting. I know I`m only a community organiser, so have no standing at the top levels of this campain. But we need a startegy meeting for the next phase of the campaign. No national public face: no public support. Please come to the West Midlands for a strategy meeting in the first week of August. The next phase of our campaing needs to run from: “End of public Consultation to publishing of the Select Committee response from the UK goverment. And we need to appoint/elect individuals to the following-on phases.The following phases and the lead person to be decided at the August meeting. Maybe Staffordshire County Council could host that “First Week of August National Strategy Meeting”? Lets run the campaing using the already well-known community organising prinicpals, from now on Penny.

    John Willians lets meet.

    Petitons are an organising tool: not a pressure tool.

  2. Re – the point about the new Tube Line through Euston.

    The additonal cost mentioned above is NOT attributable to HS2. The new tube line ( called Crossrail 2 ) has its own business case ( as was stated in the TSC broadcast on Tuesday ). Crossrail 2 has been on the table for a long time.

    If you look at the Greengauge proposal map. its shows 4 high speed lines which is radically different from HS2. The 4 lines are WEST COAST, EAST COAST, GREAT WESTERN and TRANSPENNINE.

  3. Well done Andrew for your review. I have not read the full transcripts but if at least 5 of those who say we must have HS2 effcetively undermine the busines scase for it, then the only way forward is a full public inquiry. Something that we know Philip Hammond is in favour of for a project of this nature to be properly scrutinised.

  4. Back to reality. Exactly one month to go and not even half our target of 100,000 yet.
    I am still waiting replies from the WI and some of the larger unions, someone mentioned SAGA.
    What has to be evident now to all is that we need the masses behind us. I sincerely believe they are but it’s a question of tapping into their resources, like the unions and many of our national organisations.
    Unfortunately squabbling on here over irrelevant side issues designed to distract us won’t solve our problem. .
    We have to start thinking how we can approach the big people run organisations for their opinion and support. Get the big names behind us and we can forget our failure to achieve our target
    Ideas on here please in ways we can all help, we’ve done the petition with the neighbours the friends and relatives and not even 45,000 .
    Time for a wakeup call.

    • Hi John,

      I wish I knew what your fixation with the petition was. Of course it is very important, and you can see the numbers inching up every day. Remember there are masses of signatories out there in hard copy to be added to the web petition. So we are much higher than the almost 45k seen on line.

      You ask for suggestions: well, for the third time I am encouraging you to do THE most significant thing. Get everyone behind repying to the consulation document. If everyone who is against HS2 does that then HMG MUST take note of what is said. In the previous blogs when I have asked what you have done about this, there has been no response from you. This is a national consultation, supposedly, costing a small fortune, to test the viability of, and public opinion on, HS2. Concentrate your efforts on this area and you can, have an impact – however significant.

    • John. I know that 29th July is the deadline for replies to the consultation. I do not know of any deadline for 100,000 signatures on a petition. Please confirm if this is the case or not.

      • I am not sure about a closing date for The Petition, perhaps Penny will enlighten us.
        I would point out that the consultative document is just that, and when you examine it closely one has to wonder how the replies will be graded. We will have no record of the numbers responding to the consultation and the government can choose to ignore its summation.
        What the government cannot do is renege on the promise by the PM and the Leader of the House that if presented with a 100,000 petition it will be debated in the House. Further, with a petition one knows exactly how many signatures it holds. It does worry me that according to lil0lil “there are masses of signatories out there in hard copy to be added to the web petition. So we are much higher than the almost 45k seen on line”.
        Are we? By how many?
        Is there no clearing address for these extra signatures that volunteers like lil0lil have worked so hard to obtain? After 16 months surely someone somewhere would have assessed our position by now and updated the website with some accurate figures?
        Not a single group has yet submitted their signatures to be added to the total?
        What is the point of having a daily running total if it completely meaningless?
        It is because I have no faith in relying on the consultative document responses to be effectual in preventing the commitment to the unwarranted expense of HS2 at this time that I am convinced that we need the power of the backing of the general public and at this late stage and it is imperative we pursue the unions and whatever national bodies we can to apprise them of the effect this expenditure will have on their members and their community for a long time to come.
        Democracy must be seen to be done, a consultative document examined behind closed doors does not do that, a debate in Parliament does.

        • JW, Democracy must be seen to be done, a consultative document examined behind closed doors does not do that, a debate in Parliament does.

          So a country-wide consultation with responses sent to dft (aka hs2 ltd) is not democratic? I too have issues with the bias of the questions. But if you preface each question with ” I am against hs2 in principle” it is unlikely that your answer can be taken as “for” the project. I also have no idea how the responses will be collated, a hot topic at a recent Environmental Law Seminar in Coventry. HOWEVER that may be it is still the only official way to have your views counted.

          Are you suggesting that because you doubt the openness of the consultation process it is not worth doing? Not worth adding your voice to the opposition? You don’t think that if the pro lobby can afford consultants, ad campaigns, buses, freebie handouts that they won’t be “encouraging” completion of the consultation in case it is misinterpreted? No way, as they say, Jose. Every person who is against HS2, for whatever reason, and who does not tell the government so via this document is undermining EVERYTHING that all of us are trying to achieve.

          As to the total of the petition – I agree it would be of value to have an update on the number of paper petioners there are. There is no real reason to have to manually input them into the online petition, as it should be fairly easy to multiply the number of signees per page by the no. of pages that have been received at the address given on the petition.

          I’m not sure though that it a cause for outrage, and am pretty sure that this particular job is already in hand by a band of doughty volunteers.

          • I dont quite understand what problem John W has with the process…..

            In simple terms, a rail project has been proposed which looks like it will solve a whole load of issues. In order for this to proceed, a vote of MPs ( who themselves have been voted for in a democratic way ) will decide whether this goes ahead or not. Prior to that , there is a whole raft of people and organisations putting their views across in a number of ways, whether for or against.

            I really cant see what is undemocratic about the whole process…..right now there is a Transport Select Committee carrying out some searching analysis. You cannot complain about the make up of this committee as its cross party and from differing areas of the country – indeed Steve Baker is a known opponent of HS2.

    • John Williams there a a lot of paper signatures collected from the No stands at the road shows that should boost the numbers quite a lot.Take some comfort in the fact that the Yes camp have under 400 on one petition and about 150 on the other on line that is.I hope that you get some replys soon. it takes all of us doing a little bit to hopefully win the battle.I have written lots of letters and gained results from councils who knows my letters may have helped to tip the balance.

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