What will Justine Greening say about HS2?

This was previously published on HS2 Questions by Jerry Marshall

If the new Secretary of State for Transport is to be consistent in her views on major transport infrastructure projects, when she announces her decision on HS2 here are her possible responses.

“Much of what I have said comes down to democracy. Ministers have said that we should not vote on such matters. … Many hon. Members feel that [HS2] has such profound consequences for the day-to-day lives of their constituents that they view it as similarly important. We have had a consultation, to which residents have responded overwhelmingly by saying that they do not want the plan to go ahead. Despite all those points, Ministers still seek to override people’s will. That is deeply worrying.”


“The Government are isolated on this issue, and Ministers must ask themselves what is more important—saving face and sticking with a bad decision, or having the courage to admit that this is wrong, and change course. It is time to listen to the [55,000] people, including my constituents, who responded with their grave concerns to the consultations.”


Sadly there is no guarantee that her response will be consistent with her previous statements.. Ten years ago the former Secretary of State of Transport, Philip Hammond, thought hybrid bills were undemocratic and inappropriate for a major transport project. But then that was concerning a railway to carry freight that was to run through his constituency and he was in opposition.


The words in brackets are substitutes, but the rest of statements are all things Justine said in the House of Commons.

6 comments to “What will Justine Greening say about HS2?”
  1. Very well said Gordon F. Your post demonstrates the sensible and logical arguments that have been made against HS2 and the post from Paul Bell is a shining example of how the pro hs2 lobby think. The Government have made a bad decision but the fight is far from over! I am appalled at how the whole comsultation process was handled, it is clear that the majority of people who voiced an opinion were against and not just because it affected their area. Perhaps now the project is finally getting the uk wide publicity, people will wake up to the huge cost of this and the minimal benefits.

    • Its one big fustian pact. Transport bodies and transport operators commission biased and frankly pathetic studies to support this. The whole process is a great case study for what exactly is wrong with democracy and the public sector in general. There is far too much self-interest and far to little ethics in these decisions and what is truely remarkable is most of the people involved lack the self-awareness to see it.

      This will end up at judicial review IMO. Its an awful fear based decision and everyone knows it. I consider it the same as an individual being heavily in debt but then insisting its ok that they buy a new car on finance.

  2. To be honest, it looks to me at first glance like the government is panicking.
    I think that they realise that the cuts are not very popular, and the government is desparate for something that is big, will take a long time, and can be argued will benefit the economy.
    I think that HS2 fits the bill. The point is that it involves a large sum of money, so despite the fact that the per year spending is pretty low, because it has a long duration, the headline figure is impressive. Also it will take so long to build that before there is hard empirical evidence that the project is a waste of money, hopefully, the government thinks, the economy will have recovered. Then when the obvious truth dawns, the government of the day can just blame the government that approved it of incompetence.
    Also, because it has a long duration, the government can bang on about the same message for a long time, to ram that message home, that is, that the economic recovery is assured because of the spending of £33bn of stimulus.

  3. HA HA – nimbys loose. HS2 approved.

    Chilterns are not particularly beautiful , used to live in Soth Bucks.. Now live in the far more beautiful Northumberland.

    • Actually I think you’ll find that the WHOLE UK loses to the tune of at least £33,000,000,000. The Chilterns are officially designated and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with the same protection as Northumberland National Park. I have lived in both areas and both have their own beauty (isn’t South Bucks nearer to Slough than the AONB anyway?). Beauty is only one issue, however and the other arguments against HS2 remain. The govt always planned to ignore the response to the consultation anyway (huge majority against) – they were always going to give approval to HS2 as there are so many vested interests. But the war is not yet lost. There’s nothing about nimbyism in the arguments of “no business case, no environmental case and no money to pay for it”. It was residents who first investigated this project and uncovered the flaws and it’s only today that the rest of the population will start to realise how much of a waste of taxpayers’ money this is. It’s not only blighted populations (“nimbys” as you unsympathetically call them) who will suffer – it’s the whole of the UK who lose.

    • This is only the start of a very long and protracted fight that will take years……..this is not a good decision for this country as other rail projects will suffer as a result. So much for a listening green Government…..real vote loser

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