Hammond goes to Sheffield…

In an extraordinary call for responses to support HS2, Philip Hammond has gone to one of the few places which appears to be in favour of HS2 in an effort to undermine the public consultation process which he set up.

According to the Yorkshire Post, Philip Hammond said “Those who think it is a good thing – the vast majority of people I have spoken to in Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Derby and others, if you care about the project you have until Friday to make your voice heard.”

The five cities he mentioned, the ones where he says there is a lot of support, are the cities which expect to get a local HS2 station. Birmingham will be the only city connected to London in the first phase of HS2: Leeds and Manchester are expecting stations when the second phase is finished in the 2030s. The official documents for the current consultation imply that Derby and Sheffield might get a station close to them, but are not named on the plans.

It’s not surprising that these places support HS2: they expect to get the majority of the direct benefits for a £33 billion project which the whole country will pay for it.

At long last, Philip Hammond is acknowledging that opposition to HS2 is widespread: “A lot of people opposed to the project live a long way away from the proposed route” he said.

Lets face it, Philip Hammond is the minister in charge of setting up a biased public consultation to find out if the public agrees with the Government about HS2. And that the end of the consultation is near, and he is finding that the general public does not agree with the Government..

Hammond might be desperate, but he is a government minister, with the Department for Transport behind him and the support of the Prime Minster.

Don’t let Philip Hammond subvert the public consultation process: if you object to HS2, please make sure you respond to the consultation now, and add your voice to the protests against it.

PS The online form is here, email highspeedrail@dft.gsi.gov.uk

Post to :
High Speed Rail Consultation
PO Box 59528
SE21 9AX

You can also use the quick response form set up by SNAG.

19 comments to “Hammond goes to Sheffield…”
  1. People do care when they have been informed, but many just do not know about it even after all the articles in the paper and on tv.I know because i have been informing people in my local area .only last week the florist was horrified when i told her where it would run.

  2. Will yiou allow this – The First report showing the financial return the government will be getting from Hs2 has been published. (http://www.rail.co/2011/07/26/report-says-hs2-on-track-for-delivering-a-return-on-government-investment)Before before any one asked the report has been done by a company which has no links to HS2 or a rail company. Have a look and you see that proposed route could produce between £6bn to £7bn as a return on its £13.9bn investment, figures taken from the report. If the lonk does not work the website is http://www.rail.co

    • I’ve heard of PwC who prepared the report but not Greenguage 21 who commissioned the report. Has anyone heard of Greenguage 21 and if so do you know if they have any interest in high speed rail?

      • Greengauge 21 are a rail development lobby group. However, the report they have commissioned is independent and it undertaken by PWC. Unlike the IEA report last week, the authors will not be members of any campaign group relevant to HS2; this is usually a good idea to ensure that the authors are not biased before they start if you are comissioning a report.

        • Are you saying Greenguage 21, a railway lobby group, are neutral and objective with no vested interest…? Hmmm.

          • No, I am clearly saying that PWC are unbiased and are not employing report authors who are biased. Or perhaps you would like to make a legal challenge to PWC – I’m sure they would love to hear from you.

        • Greengauge 21 are a high speed rail lobbying group, so not neutral about HS2.

          The Greengauge website says they are funded by the “HSR Public Interest Group”, and they also say “The HSR Public Interest Group is a unique grouping of public sector and rail industry organisations that came together to sponsor a programme of work on high-speed rail.

          • “Greengauge 21 has no vested interest and is not seeking to be part of any direct beneficiary (construction company, operating company etc.). The company seeks to act in the national and the public interest, by carrying out research and bringing forward evidence so that a full and open debate on high-speed rail can take place” taken from website.

  3. I think you’ve missed the point here Ian. Whatever you think of Vernon Wood’s views, the fact is that a pre-paid reply with only a YES option has been delivered to homes in Yorkshire. This is supposed to be a democractic consultation allowing people to express their views NOT a one-sided propaganda exercise worthy of the worst tinpot dictatorships.

    • That was exactly my point. I’ve noticed in the past that whenever anything that casts the pro HS2 lobby in a bad light the issue itself is seldom if ever addressed, though much is made of their usual spiel. This being a case in point.

  4. “The few places that support HS2” happen to be the largest cities where most of the population lives either in or nearby so it is understandable that this is where the line will go. I also take issue that they are the only places supporting (or are not against hs2 in principal) however.

    You also say that Birmingham will be the only city initially connected to London via HS2. This is not so. Many trains will be routed over HS2 between London and Birmingham before regaining the classic line to points further north. So certainly Manchester at least will benefit from hs2 straight away and benefit even more when the second leg is completed. And of course you have to start somewhere so linking the first and second largest cities in england seems like a very good place to start, especially when it will link to the third largest city from day one at lower speeds and ultimately at the same speed as London-Birmingham.

    Those opposed to hs2 fall into three broad camps – those who live near the proposed route route, those near the route who would like to be connected to HS2, and those whose area will not be connected directly or indirectly into hs2 so wont benefit. and those for are the large cities.

    There is nothing unexpected in this. All large projects benefit some and disadvantage others as an unfortunate consequence. If the overall economic and other benefits to the country outweigh those who wont benefit then the project will go ahead.

    • “If the overall economic and other benefits to the country outweigh those who wont benefit then the project will go ahead.”

      EXACTLY! They don’t so it shouldn’t.

  5. ‘The whole country will pay for HS2’.

    Yes, it will.

    And the costs in the period 2011 – 2016 are minimal. So your arguments concerning the current recession are untimely.

    The major capex project in that 5 year period, about which you are notably silent is CROSSRAIL.

    That will also be significantly paid for by taxpayers and I am sure that those living north of Birmingham will benefit very little from it, much as they benefit far less from HS1 than do London and the South East.

    I trust you will address these minor anomalies when cross-examined by Philip Hammond at a suitable juncture and that, in all your railing about costs which are about £1.5bn a year for 20 years from about 2015 or so, you will express your equally ardent opposition to the drain on the current economy of a flag ship south-east of England rail project.

    • @Rhys Jaggar: “I trust you will address these minor anomalies when cross-examined by Philip Hammond at a suitable juncture”

      Don’t hold your breath @Rhys Jaggar

  6. The Yorkshire Post is also in favour of HS2 as they say in their editorial comments. I have posted responses on their web site against HS2 and there have been a number of other anti HS2 postings from local readers so Hammond must be very selective in who he talks to or the questions he is asking. The fact is as people realise the cost and minimal benefit this scheme would entail, unless they have a direct benefit, they are against it.

    • The Yorkshire Post may be, but it seems readers may not be quite so convinced, as this reader’s letter of yesterday shows ….. and it seems that the HS Consultation arm is not so squeaky clean as you might think. Unbiased, I don’t think so.

      Published on Monday 25 July 2011 11:34

      TONIGHT my Evening Post arrived together with a piece of print which I believe must be the most insidious propaganda ever delivered to my home.

      It is a reply-paid card soliciting my support for the proposed High Speed Rail project currently being debated by government.

      There is no mention of the fact that the proposals are being strongly opposed along the 350 mile “Y” route from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. There is no mention that the plans will not be completed until 2031. There is no mention of the budget estimate of £32 billion.

      As we know from previous bitter experience, official estimates of time and cost on projects of this nature are always wildly optimistic, with “slippage” often accounting for inflation up to 200 per cent (vide the Edinburgh Tram – a smash of prodigious proportions).

      The leaflet from “High Speed Rail Consultation” takes the form of a reply-paid card on which the only option for the reader is to reply “YES” to the HSR project – with no room for dispute or qualification.

      For your readers of my own persuasion who wish to express their total disapproval of the HSR proposals, may I suggest they register their opinion as follows.

      Take a blank, sealed envelope and write on 1) The date, 2) their postcode, 3) Names of objectors and 4) The phrase “We object to all HSR Y roue proposals”. On Side 2 of the envelope write the address “High Speed Rail Consultation”, Po Box 59528, London SE21 9AX and FREEPOST RSLX-UCGZ-UKSS. It should be posted to arrive before August 1.

      This organisation will thus be prevented from claiming “100 per cent” support in their future publicity, and we, the paying public will have stated our objection to paying £32 billion to save 60 minutes travel time for 10 per cent of the travelling public on one rail route.

      For goodness sake, don’t these people realise that in 20 years time most business travel will have been replaced by electronic communications?

      Vernon Wood, by email

      • One person doesn’t alter the fact that most people don’t care. The views expressed in that letter are inaccurate and misleading

        1. ‘official estimates of time and cost on projects of this nature are always wildly optimistic, with “slippage” often accounting for inflation up to 200 per cent (vide the Edinburgh Tram – a smash of prodigious proportions’

        2. ‘For goodness sake, don’t these people realise that in 20 years time most business travel will have been replaced by electronic communications?’

        High Speed 1 came in on time and on budget. In any case, cost overuns on rail projects are as nothing when compared to road schemes.

        The second point is the often repeated fantasy put about by Stop HS2 supporters. ABSOLUTELY ALL evidence of past improvements in communications technology points towards an increase in the demand for travel – as communications become more efficient companies grow and the economy expands which leads to an increase in travel demand.

        Clearly this person has swallowed the Stop HS2 propaganda – but the ‘fact’ still remains that the majority of people in the UK don’t care one way or the other. But they will care if the country fails to invest in transport and ends up in gridlock.

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