HS2 – what happens next

It’s almost two years since the original announcement of HS2, and whilst the arguments for progressing with this gargantuan white elephant keep getting weaker, both the campaign and opinion against it keep getting stronger.

It came as no surprise that Justine Greening, despite saying she was going to take ‘great care’ before deciding on whether or not to go with HS2, announced she was going to proceed with the EU-demanded vanity project, in January, just a couple of weeks after Philip Hammond had been due to.  To highlight the difference between the blind spin from Government and the truth of the matter, we’ve produced a video of ‘What the Transport Secretary didn’t say’. It would be great if you can share and forward to people who don’t really know a great deal about HS2. It can be found via this link – http://youtu.be/OiudCN-SzNU


When she announced her pre-determined decision to go ahead with HS2,  Justine Greening was really committing to was blowing a billion pounds of your taxes on consultants this parliament. This has happened purely on her nod, there won’t actually be a vote in Parliament about this for at least another two years.

It won’t come as a surprise that ARUP, following their complete ineptitude in drawing up three sets of error-strewn plans for HS2, along with the more successful policy of chucking money at various chambers of commerce who have lobbied for HS2, have already been awarded a £7m contract to provide ‘environmental services’ and are in the running for two more contracts.

So now we are at the stage for ‘engagement on environmental issues’, meaning environmental surveys, which legally should have taken place before a decision to proceed, are about to take place.

Affected landowners – which includes people with a back garden backing onto a railway line, as well as farmers – are being offered £1,000 to allow surveyors onto their land.  The packs are very daunting looking and (incorrectly) imply that people have to allow access to HS2 Ltd and their contractors.  Those affected do not have to allow  this, as HS2 Ltd have no legal right of access at the moment.

After consulting with the appropriate people, which may include your affected neighbours, you may decide to grant HS2 Ltd access.  If so, if ask them to make the cheque out to ‘Stop HS2’, that would be nice!

Alongside the environmental surveys, this spring there will be a third consultation on compensation and HS2 Ltd will send their options on the routes to Leeds and Manchester to Government. There will be a consultation on the ‘safeguarding zone’ too, but that won’t be with the public, just ‘statutory bodies’.

While that is happening, there will be environmental forums, planning forums and community forums. If you believe you or your group should be involved in the local community forum (the public have no rights whatsoever to the other two), please email sally.fulcher@hs2.gsi.gov.uk,

According to HS2 Ltd presentations a new ‘blight zone’ will be in place (whatever that means) by autumn and land will be safeguarded, meaning no other planning applications can be made. We will also find out what the preferred routes going to Leeds & Manchester are, but these will not be consulted on until 2014.

The HS2 plan is that by this time next year we will have the public consultation on the environmental analysis for the London-Birmingham/Lichfield route. The hybrid bill will arrive in parliament on the very specific date of 25th October 2013, we are told, where it is expected there will be over a year of parliamentary process before it is voted on, which will be close to the 2015 general election.

HOWEVER, As you might have read in the press, there is going to be a legal challenge, a Judicial Review. In fact, there are going to be a couple of them. The 51m group, a coalition of 18 local councils, including two councils which aren’t even on the route of HS2 have come together and will be challenging the validity of the consultation process. A coalition of action groups and environmental organisations are challenging the environmental case thus far. If you have any information which you believe may be relevant to these legal challenges, please send it on to challenge@stophs2.org

Judicial Review – Fighting Fund

Ways to make your donation:

1. Cheques made payable to (STOP HS2 Ltd) and sent to StopHS2 c/o Roger Waller, Treasurer, The Outlook, Dunsmore, Nr Wendover, Buckinghamshire HP22 6QJ

2. Direct to Lloyds TSB Bank plc (account number: 34934760, sort code: 30-94-93) in the name of  STOP HS2 LIMITED

10 comments to “HS2 – what happens next”
  1. Having just read the artical about moving the spoil from proposed tunnels in the Chilterns improvements to existing lines ,extra carriages (including reduction of first class).has to be a better idea.With the fact that more people will work from home and there should be less needing to travel long distances which is what hs2 is aimed at it will not remedy the short distance overcowding.It will not reduce the carbon footprint
    by needing to move 12 million cubic meters of spoil just for the chilterns tunnel.Can you imagine the roads having extra lorries ,one every 26 seconds through the working day ,5 days a week for 5 years.All i can think is hell on earth.

  2. Common sense and Government in the same comment?
    I congratulate you sir!
    Do not worry though as the government is thinking about smoothing down demand by making it even more expensive to use the rail network during peak hours! There will be a captive audience that cannot avoid this trap. Yes, there will probably be some people who will be able to travel at other times (I dare say that they will fall into the next round of fare increases when the first trains outside of the peak peak times become overcrowded though).
    This is another piece of disjointed thinking by a disjointed government. Or is it possible that they are thinking ahead and that the current rise in fares will make the high speed high fares (by their own acknowledgement and by implication in the phrase “cutting rail costs for the tax-payer”) seem less unpalatable?

    • Ms Greening doesn’t need to worry about the peak fare going even higher, as her department started to “work from home” to save travel time and money!! In the mean time, the “customer friendly rail strategy” will actually save some good money for her to prepare to fund HS2 (at it stands initially is GBP 32B), which she also claim that the demand of travelling (i.e. not work from home) will be in so much need – so much as such that it will require 340+ trains to sound-speed through between Birmingham and London!!! Note: HS2 Ltd believes that an additional 135,000 passengers per day will use the line (where existing usage of the West Coast Main Line is 45,000 per day). Surely they all feel much less people will be using virtual network e.g. Skype and GoToMeetings or to work from home, you see!

  3. A government with no money is embarking on a highly expensive project that experts are warning will be a flop. Government projects have a habit of over running on time and cost. The rail fares are spiralling upwards, creating a tax on work which will either make commuting or long-distance travel elitist or kill it off completely. So where will the passengers come from to fill these new superfast trains?
    We are constantly told that the system is at capacity – the people standing for over an hour on intercity trains are a testiment to that. So why doesn’t the government put an extra two lines in alongside the existing London-Birmingham track, demolish all the bridges so that they have more headroom for double decker trains, and to allow the fast trains an alternative route in case of disruption (just look at the Eurostar disruption this week – dedicated tracks mean certain blockage).
    Surely this is the commonsense approach, will probably cost less, blight the countryside less, and if it is a disaster, we have an extra two raillines on an existing route that can take any increases of capacity when rail travel becomes affordable again.

    • The elegant simplicity of Thom Poole’s suggestion is truly magnificent; at a stroke he has saved both billions of pounds,the Chiltern Hills and a swathe of central England.
      As he suggests, “all ” that needs to be done is to strip down and rewire the entire West Coast network,”aquire” a strip of land on both sides of the existing line and re engineer the entire signalling system and rebuild most of the stations along the route…bearing in mind the mixed traffic already contending for paths, non stop,commuter traffic, local stopping services, freight,
      Yes, Birmingham New Street (at present used by TWICE the number of passenger trains that it was planned for) needs extra approach tunnels at both ends, but nobody has had the bottle to carry this through as besides the cost, it might involve demolishing large chunks of the City centre.
      “Rebuild all the bridges…” carrying road , rail and private access routes (remember many bridges were rebuilt when the route was electrified). Have you noted the concern at the likely effects of re modelling the Hanger Lane roundabout?
      If you CAN do all this, then you’re still left with a serpentine route laid out in the 1830s, now running through a whole series of existing towns and villages which would be”gutted “by the new lines, in much the same way that from the 1960s roads were widened through towns -such as the A 4/ M4 into West London and the A 40 through Acton,-with far more demolition required than is predicted fo HS2.
      Providing “fast trains with an alternative route”, in effect a bypass like those on our road network, seems to be what Network Rail are needing. For better or worse , that’s why they are pushing for HS2.

    • @Thom Poole

      Your comment is so full of holes it’s difficult to know where to begin

      1. Please define what you mean by “government with no money” because it’s open to interpretation on so many fronts
      2. You claim that experts are warning the project will be a flop but don’t clarify who you mean – are the experts in this instance those who agree with your viewpoint or those (the vast majority) who don’t?
      3. Some projects (both private industry and govt. backed) go overbudget and some don’t – have you looked at the budget and timescale for the only other comparable project undertaken on UK soil – HS1?
      4. Building new infrastructure adjacent to a live running line is a recipe for cost overrun and delay – the WCML upgrade, original budget approx £2.5bn – ended up at nearly £9bn, providing a prime example – it also took the best part of 10 years and inflicted untold misery on the (rail) travelling public
      5. You claim, without any supporting evidence or reference point, that creating a new European Guage pathway will probably cost less but if you ask the experts (after they’ve picked themselves off the floor and stopped laughing) they will explain the reality. Check out the disruption resulting from just one bridge closure required to increase headroom and multiply that by the number of bridges on the WCML – it doesn’t bear thinking about!

      @Thom Poole – if there is one single quality signally absent from your comment, it’s common sense!

      • Don’t be so unkind to Thom, Peter. This site has hosted a wide range of wild and wonderful ideas, viewpoints and suggestions, so why pick on him?
        Perhaps his contribution was meant to be ironic…

        • @John Webber

          Of course, you’re correct

          Apologies @Thom Poole – for a moment there I thought you were being serious

      • It might be a slightly colloquial term but to say the government’s got no money seems fair when it owes over £ 1 trillion and the amount keeps going up despite it’s slash and burn approach in most of its spending areas. We thought the railways were an exception until last week but the “efficiency savings” demanded by Justine Greening will be just as much a euphemism for cuts as they have been with the police force.

  4. Pingback: Update from Roger | Stop The HS2 Route

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