Our view of the HS2 decision

Stop HS2 are naturally disappointed that the HS2 proposal is continuing to be pushed forward by the Government.

Justine Greening promised a “rational decision”.

We’ve set out our view of the economic case and the environmental case in letters to her and other material we have produced.

However Justine Greening has consistently refused to talk to campaign groups and local politicians opposing the HS2 project, preferring instead to rely on summaries produced by vested interests.

The Coalition’s Programme for Government stated that the Coalition would progress with high speed rail “as part of our programme of measures to fulfil our joint ambitions for creating a low carbon economy“. But according to HS2 Ltd themselves, the HS2 proposal is carbon neutral.

Justine Greening, in her statement, points out that “Electrified rail is a comparatively low-carbon mode of transport…Speed increases power consumption“.

The vast majority of the passengers on HS2 are expected to have used conventional speed railway otherwise, or not travelled at all, so it’s clear that environmental claims for HS2 are simply greenwashing. (A mere 3% of HS2 passengers would have used air travel otherwise.)

The proposed tinkering with the route may bring small relief to a few, but whenever the line is moved away from one area, it is made closer to another community. Adding a few tunnels does not change the economic case against the line, nor do they improve the overall environmental case.

One thing is certain though. The fight isn’t over.

We will stop HS2.

Link to:
Justine Greening’s written statement.

The HS2 documents released yesterday on the Department for Transport’s website.

The discussion in Parliament.

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42 comments to “Our view of the HS2 decision”
  1. Shouldn’t we all look on the bright side a little.
    Although this great white elephant will serve no major purpose and be redundant before it begins if broadband connections improve sufficiently to enable proper conferencing, the fact remains that it will be forced through like that other London fiasco that we can no longer afford (the Olympics).
    But at least we can look forward to an easing of the MP’s housing fiasco.
    Surly the new link will mean that any MP living within about 30 miles of a station is no longer in need of a second home.
    The whole point of the line is commutability !!!

  2. In my opinion this decision confirms that a majority of politicians have great difficulty thinking independently, challenging the advice of their peers and the recommendations of legions of consultants appointed to think for them. ‘A blind man on a galloping horse’ can see there’s no ‘business case’ for HS2 so I can only assume that Justine Greening thinks HS2 is strategic. If that’s the case then why not announce it and then accept that she and the Government share a massive moral obligation to protect the inhabitants of all the affected homes, towns, villages, farms, woodlands, businesses & organisations who, through no fault of their own, are so cruelly close to/or on, the intended route. This means that everything that can be done, should be done to protect their livelihoods, human rights, quality of life etc., probably requiring significantly more tunnelling and an honourable compensation package for those for whom tunnelling brings no relief. These people are expected to bear the brunt of all disruption, blight, ruination, noise, subsidence, capital erosion etc., etc., none of whom will reap any benefit from HS2. It’s bad enough to fund a white elephant; it’s gross irresponsibility to destroy lives and the environment too.

  3. I am afraid that despite all of the rhetoric from the lobbyists HS2 will definately proceed unless it is stopped following a judicial review. The general consensus in my area is that the StopHS2 campaign has been lack lustre to say the least, wasting its time on promoting useless music tracks rather than taking a more aggressive stance.

    This has to be taken to judicial review!!!

    • I really hope you and others in your area have done your bit. With limited support, finances and most importantly manpower StopHS2 have achieved more than most organisations could dream of and empowered local action groups to stage their own campaigns. That is what you were supposed to be doing, running your own campaign and engaging local people to support Stop HS2 and your own community. People were welcome to demos, meetings etc but if you weren’t there, you really can’t criticise.
      The singles campaign was an inspired idea for news silly season and got coverage at a time of limbo when there was no new story.
      If you cannot support, thank and encourage, reflect on what you have done and think what you can do next.
      This is only the beginning!!

  4. Justine now says in response to a question from the Welsh First Minister that the additional tunnelling at Amersham SAVED £250m -£300m because of the reduced surface work . She puts her mate Cheryl on the back for this.

    The tunnel climbs 100m to exit on top of the Chilterns and then ploughs across thge top of the hills in a series of cuttings, so called ‘green’ cut and cover tunnels and viaducts. How much more would they have ‘saved’ if they just kept tunnelling all the way to Wendover ? Why did we not get an answer to this Cheryl?

    Initailly the Government leaked that they had invested £500m to save the Chilterns.

    How can we trust anything that the Justine Greening, HS2 Ltd, or the Coalition Government says when they play so fast and loose with the facts for the sake of personal politics and spin?

  5. Justine Greening has a massive vested interest in this. She was a key member of the HACAN campaign to stop the 3rd runway at Heathrow and one of the key arguments of that group was the ‘modal shift’ from air to high speed rail. They are in favour of HS2.
    So how can she say that she took a rational and unbias review of the case when she has such a personal interest.

    • For your delectation:

      Justine Greening, Conservative MP

      “At every stage the Government has ignored public opinion and shamelessly ignored the grave environmental risk of expanding Heathrow. At every stage, residents have made their concerns and views against further expansion very clear. The battle to stop Heathrow expansion will continue because preserving our quality of life is so important. I have got involved in buying this land to very actively represent the views of my own constituents. If the Government will not listen in Parliament, then ministers will find they have to listen in the courts.”

      Exactly so Ms Greening, exactly so …

  6. We need to get the message across that the Tory party now believe in tax and spend no matter what the return to the country

  7. Madam/Sir, can anybody please state why the existing alternative mainline connecting London and Birmingham (via Bicester) has been overlooked when considering the forecast capacity constraints for the WCML?

    When HS2 is completed, London and Birmingham will then be linked by not one, not two, but THREE mainline rail systems, creating an investment drought for all three for ongoing upgrades and improvements, and we know where investments droughts have got us in the past.

    The Bicester route should be re-upgraded for capacity reasons, and the former route linking London (Marylebone) with the North (known as the Great Central route) should be reused as the earthwork basis for the high-speed service, by which strategy the link between London and the North could begin in short order, instead of waiting until HS2 Phase One has been completed.

  8. “One thing is certain though. The fight isn’t over.”

    It most certainly is over.

    HS2 will happen because it is in the wider long term interests of the country. The vast majority of the rail network in this country is over 100 years old. We cannot go into the 21st century with 19th century rail infrastructure. Time to upgrade and move forward.

    • This project will do nothing to solve the current issues that exist on the existing 100 year old infrastructure, it will take money away from it for a new railway that most people won’t be able to afford to use. The real rail problems are local ones…

    • You’ve said it yourself rail is C19th. Air is C20th but Broadband is the mere start of C21st. It’s like the steam engine was to rail.

  9. Very disappinted in the wish of the vast majority of politicians to push ahead with this hair brained waste of money. They obviously are not interested in listening to the people and as mentioned they do not wish to meet with those whose lives will be destroyed. But come election time the Laurel and Hardy party and Labour will be canvassing for our votes – let us make sure that come election time we ignore them at the ballot box. The smug attitude of Justine Greening when she was asked a question in the House about the environmental impact to wildlife she smirked and the rest of the House were laughing along with her – a clear indication that they dont give a toss about anything the electors think. And as for those who are pro-HS2 and think the work will be contracted to UK businesses need to wake up and smell the coffee.

    • 95% of the respondants to the DFT consultation were against this. The DFT then takes that information and writes a favourable report. Its point blank undemocratic.

    • I for one after being a Tory voter will now longer be, I have become very disillusioned with Politics during this process it’s shocking how these people fail to interact with those of us raising genuine conerns and have an open an honest debate about why they think this project should go ahead. I suggest others who feel like me should find a way of letting this party know it is losing votes, I have emailed Justine Greening and pointed out why I will no longer be voting for their party !

      • In reply to hsno I shall not be voting for Tories or Labour – it is clear from their attitude that they are just interested in bathing themselves in HS2 glory inspite of the will of the people. Democracy in this country is a sham.

  10. Yes it is very disappointing that the Government have decided to approve HS2. It is clear that the huge majorirty of the feedback received from the consultation, together with the petitions have shown that the people do not want it to go ahead. Despite all the sensible arguments against from a range of people and organisations, the response has been to call us Nimbys or Luddites with bland soundbites of “it will help the economy.. blah blah” with no proof how.

    However, the fight is not over and our efforts must increase. Now that more of the country is aware of the costs etc, we must ensure that momentum is increased and we involve more of the country to speak up against HS2.

    • This must be taken to judicial review. There has been no objectivity regarding the mertits of this whatsoever. All we have is transport companies and bodies commissioning reports with no impatiality whatsoever. Imagine if the association of british breweries were to commission a report on liver damage and drinking…………would anyone believe it? No of course you wouldnt. Self-intereted parties have no authority when it comes to these studies. Even the most basic study contains notes regaridng conflicts of interest which are endemic in the studies cited for this lunacy.

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