CAMPAIGNERS from across the country have been disgusted by the double-standards displayed by Transport Secretary Justine Greening in deciding to go ahead with HS2. In opposition, the Minister was highly critical of Governments unwillingness to listen to public opinion or official consultations when opposing the third runway at Heathrow. In approving HS2 Greening has ignored all of the arguments against HS2, despite saying she would take ‘great care’ and make a ‘rational decision’. The Minister also undermined the consultation process by using a conveniently last-minute Network Rail report which did not compare like with like to justify her decision, but ignored significant concerns from the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee because their report came in ‘after the consultation’.
The vast majority of responses to the HS2 consultation were against HS2. In a speech to Parliament regarding Heathrow expansion on 28th January 2009, Greening said;
“On a democratic basis we have had a consultation and residents and people have said overwhelmingly that they do not want this plan to go ahead. The fact that in spite of all of that Ministers still seek to override the will of public opinion, I find it deeply, deeply concerning.”
Whilst after signing up to be a beneficial owner of a plot of land in the way of the Heathrow development, she told Greepeace:
“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.”
Stop HS2 Campaign Co-ordinator Joe Rukin said;
“Justine Greening is a Grade 1 hypocrite, otherwise known as a politician. She harked on about it being ‘deeply concerning’ for Government not to listen to public opinion when it suited her, but now it doesn’t suit, she is fully committed to ride roughshod over it. She said in the Heathrow campaign that she was concerned about environmental damage, but when she announced more tunnels for HS2 she upped the environmental damage, both due to now needing larger construction depots and the fact more energy and more energy is needed to run through tunnels. Now it is certain that HS2 will lead to an increase in Carbon emissions. She also tried to say that building more tunnels means the thing will cost less! Well if that is the truth, they would tunnel the whole thing! Two years ago, like Justine I signed up to the campaign Greenpeace were running against Heathrow expansion. Now I find myself still on the same side at Greenpeace, it’s just Greening who has changed sides for political expedience.”
“The arguments made for building HS2 against the other options are mostly lies. It is simply that politicians have had strong lobbying for years from people with vested interests in building the line and they now think it is too politically embarrassing to cancel. The problem with that is that this week the country woke up to what HS2 means and the country very solidly has said: ‘How much? For one train line which I’ll never use when there are cuts on everything else? You are kidding?’. It is not now a question of whether there will be a legal challenge, it’s how many there will be. As Greening herself said: ‘If the Government will not listen in Parliament, then ministers will find they have to listen in the courts.’”
Notes to Editors:
- For more information contact Joe Rukin on 07811 371880 or Penny Gaines on 07765 780553
- People can sign the petition against HS2 via the Stop HS2 website. https://stophs2.org/news/378-petition-government-stop-hs2/ or directly at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/353
- The Greenpeace wuote can be found at http://www.airplot.org.uk/airplotters.html
- Greenings commons statement is as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNJ2ppor5D8&list=UU4I2gXFkiFeY0BiD5QsCHHQ&index=10&feature=plcp
The Government decision to proceed this week with HS2 is shocking. The Bow Group, TSC, and the considerable majority of consultation responses are saying Stop HS2 and think again. Is this democracy or is it an excuse for power hungry egotistical politicians to proceed with a vanity project? Even worse is it their bulging wallets. Disgraceful. We will stop it!!!
If you haven’t actually played the 20 second Justine Greening video clip I suggest you do. The double standards are absolutely breathtaking.
Yes, do play the 20 second video clip of Justines Greening. I agree Martin, it is just one perfect illustration of many double standards demonstrated by our politicians.
Of course the fight should go on. In a few months time the number of hard-core opponents of HS2 will double when the route north from Birmingham is announced. Stop HS2 must make sure it encourages and receives them with open arms.
In the mean time the press battle must go on and it is noticeable that there is little support in the national press for this bonkers scheme.
I think it is very likely that there will be a legal challenge. Baker accepts this as Stop HS2’s right and given Greening’s comments and her complete dismissal of the Consultation outcome she can hardly try to claim an attempt to pervert democracy. Greening and Baker talk a big talk about covering off all the legal bases ( and goodness knows they should have learnt a lot from the Heathrow fiasco ) but for me they have one glaring achilles heel.
As an aside did anyone else think Justine Greening got off very lightly on Question Time last night ?
She looked nervous as if she was expecting to be mauled by a lion. The stage was set and judging by the lack of applause for her opening comments it was clear that the audience were not particularly supportive of her. But unfortunately the panel was constituted in a very friendly way including 3 other members of the political classes including 2 Scots. No MPs against the scheme, no UKIP or Green representation, no environmental supporters, nobody from Stop HS2. All we got were a couple of growls in her direction from Kelvin MacKenzie and a couple of members of the audience. JG looked very relieved afterwards and then spoke much more confidently about Scottish Independence and Breast Implants.
Maybe the BBC likes the idea of very fast trains from London to Manchester for some reason. If you agree with me write to the BBC and point out their bias.
In a similar vein, David Cameron was interviewed on Countryfile this last weekend by John Craven. Whilst he was actually being asked about new housing developments and not directly about HS2, Cameron had the audacity to say to camera that he would guard the English countryside including AONBs as strongly as if it were his own family. I can’t help wondering what is going to happen when the new route north of Birmingham is dumped on the unsuspecting people of those regions whether they too will be called NIMBYs. The fact is that when it runs through your back yard you are going to make damn sure you know as much as possible about it and the more we know about HS2, the more we realise it is a deeply flawed project. I really feel a programme like Panorama should be encouraged to devote time to it and really publicise all the things we already know but the rest of the country is only just beginning to realise.
And there is hypocracy at the highest level with Mr Cameron saying he will protect AONBs, SSI,s etc like he would protect his children (well that’s what he said on BBC Countryfile) but clearly the AONBs, SSSIs, natural habitats and ancient woodlands that HS2 will destroy somehow don’t count !
Might be a step to far for some but check this out Labour candidate for upcoming elections on 2nd Feb opposes HS2 http://www.amersham.org.uk/forum/ipb/index.php?showtopic=4083&pid=32957&st=0&#entry32957
Although the majority of the general public are against HS2 the Government do not care.The only way to stop this happening is to vote for a political party that opposes it being built.Stop HS2 should support one of these political parties such as
ukip.This is the best chance to stop this happening and it might be suprise Stop HS2 the strength of support they get.
The majority? Based on?
Only 55,000 people responded to the consultation and just 3/4s of these were against it.
75 % is about twice what most winning candidates get in a parliamentary election.
I’ll say it again @MartinH
With First Past the Post in-situ for the next general election, anti-HS2 candidates have no chance whatsoever of overturning the relatively large majorities enjoyed by incumbent MPs. Yes, anti-HS2 sentiment will erode those majorities and of course there will be a general trend against the current administration – there usually is – but I’ll put a tenner right now on all of the constituencies in the areas most adversely impacted by HS2 retaining their current MPs (assuming of course that they’re all standing again)
In fact a bigger influence on the results will be the re-drawing of boundaries to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600!
If Greening was just doing what she was told with HS2 she should have acted on what she believes in and at the end of the speech she should have said:
“However, I don’t believe in this project that was dumped on me so on principle I am now going to resign from my position”.
It is time for StopHS2 to ramp up the game. We must push out the piece on Ms Greening to all the press and other media. I have written and emailed the Minister with the false hope that she would be better than Hammond, fat chance! Needless to say no replies received but she should be reminded of her hypocrisy and left in no doubt that her and the Government are completely at odds with the majority of public opinion. I for one will never be voting for one of the main parties again, I am sick of the lot of them!
Completely agree….this type of thing should be exposed I think it may suprise people…..there is a general (and growing) issue of trust between people and Politicians around their motives for going ahead with this and other items.