Campaigners against HS2 have branded the Prime Minister ‘schizophrenic and delusional’ following his speech about future infrastructure needs on Monday (19th March 2012).
Full text of speech as delivered by David Cameron available here: – http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/pm-speech-on-infrastructure/
After starting his speech saying that he wanted to put more power in people’s hands enabling local communities to decide their neighbourhood plans, he said that pushing through HS2 was to “hold fast to our vision in the face of vested interests”. Meanwhile David Cameron’s speech praised the work of ARUP, the firm which sponsors many of the organisations lobbying for HS2 and has been awarded a string of multi-million pound HS2 contracts, despite having produced three versions of error-strewn plans thus far.
Mr Cameron said that the most immediate example of our long-term thinking is our commitment to deal with the disastrous legacy of debt and deficit that we inherited, whilst not wanting to leave liabilities for the future. In this he seems not to have noticed that the ‘headline’ costs for HS2 have risen in just two years from £32.7bn to £36.4bn, and that this figure does not include tax or trains, meaning the actual liability of HS2 will be £54bn and is likely to require an ongoing subsidy. Government predictions are that HS2 will make an operating profit, but this assumes exponential passenger growth during a period when fares are planned to rise faster then inflation and none of our other passenger railways make money. Whilst citing the principles of Adam Smith, the Prime Minister failed to note that the institute set up in his name is opposed to HS2.
Despite the very real need for urban redevelopment of brownfield sites, the speech slipped in Government plans for consultations on ‘new garden cities’. With HS2 Ltd Chief Engineer Andrew McNaughton letting the cat out of the bag last Thursday, saying the area served by the HS2 station near Birmingham Airport would be the site of a new city, it is likely that planned out of town stations in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire will get the same.
Stop HS2 Campaign Coordinator Joe Rukin said;
“We cannot believe that David Cameron claimed those fighting against losing their homes and businesses, fighting against the Government being completely irresponsible wasting billions on a project we do not need, and fighting to save the countryside are those with vested interest who should be opposed, whilst not noticing the whole project is being driven by the vested interest of those who will make money out of it. To do that whilst praising ARUP whose level of detail and accuracy in drawing up HS2 plans has been minimal and ignoring the fact many of those lobbying for HS2 are sponsored by ARUP is schizophrenic and delusional. Now the agenda to build around these out of town stations is apparent, some of the chambers of commerce which have been lobbying for HS2 may want to think again, as they will see be business parks, retail parks and suburban shoeboxes competing with the established cities and sucking development away.”
“Cameron has shown that he has one policy for this country, blowing billions of pounds not redeveloping areas where people live and jobs are needed, but ploughing up green belts everywhere because that’s what the construction companies he is in bed with want and now he has started talking about the ‘legacy’ he wants to leave behind.”
“In saying he wants these new cities, Cameron has shown he has clearly never actually been on a train, as every time I am on a train through a city I see industrial graveyards crying out for redevelopment. They already have transport links and populations willing to work, but they are simply not where developers want to build, as the green belt is a cheaper option with better profit. As always it is not people, but money that Governments of all colours care about. It wouldn’t be so bad if it might be the Government making money out of these schemes, but it’s not it’s their mates in sharp suits who take them for fancy dinners. Big business will make the money while muggins the taxpayer will have to cover the losses.”
“With HS2 he was true to the real reason for building it, simply that other countries have got it, falsely claiming as Ed Miliband did last week that we are falling behind, when according to the House of Commons Library, in 2009 we had more miles of high speed rail per acre in the UK than any over country in the world . He said we had to be like other countries and build new networks, but doesn’t care that the countries which have developed new high speed rail networks have had massive financial problems, because their networks have cost so much more to build than thought and only now are they finding that the passenger forecasts used to justify building the lines were a work of pure fiction, he just wants his shiny train set, and like HS2 Chief Engineer Andrew McNaughton, the place in history that he thinks his ‘legacy’ will bring.”
Stop HS2 Chair, Penny Gaines said
“It is easy to say something is in the national interests and hope that people who have not looked into the plans will accept that, but the biggest national interest is sorting out our financial mess. That is the so-called ‘vested interest’ of organisations which have come out against HS2 include the New Economics Foundation, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Taxpayers Alliance and the organisation named after the person whose principles Cameron claimed to be following, the Adam Smith Institute.
“However none of the organisations pushing HS2 are willing to pay for it, expecting the exorbitant cost of HS2 to be paid for by the taxpayer. These companies that expect to make money from building HS2 are the real vested interests.”
Unfortunately we have a government in power that is pushing forwards with HS2 and both the other two main parties supporting them.The people opposed are ordinary people and are ignored.The only way to stop this is to vote for a political
party that is opposed to HS2 at the next election.Perhaps stophs2 should be making efforts in this way and if enough support could be found from voters i believe you may make a difference as no political party wants to loose the next election.
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David Cameron along with many politicians is an arrogant hypocrite. He says that more power and influence should be given to local people to manage their own affairs yet completely disregards public opinion if he disagrees. With HS2 and the relaxation of planning laws, this Government will be responsible for inflicting irreversable damage on this country both environmentally and the on impact to many thousands of people quality of life.
HS2 must be stopped. Muppet Milliband was quoted as saying the reasons he supported HS2 was that he believed in the business case, the environmental case and beacause other countries in Europe had high speed rail and we shouldn’t be left behind! It has been proven that the business case is flawed, the environmental case is flawed and as for wanting it because someone else has it, that is just laughable or it would be if this guy wasn’t a possible Prime Minister.
Saying that we have “more miles of high speed rail per acre in the UK than any over country in the world”‘ is silly. The maximum speed on the conventional UK network is 125 mph i.e. everything except HS1.
Look at the EU directives and specifications e.g. 2008/57/EC:
“The high-speed lines shall comprise:
— specially built high-speed lines equipped for speeds generally equal to or greater than 250 km/h,
— specially upgraded high-speed lines equipped for speeds of the order of 200 km/h,
— specially upgraded high-speed lines which have special features as a result of topographical, relief or town planning constraints, on which the speed must be adapted to each case.”
125 mph is 201.2 km/h. 200 km/h is of course 124.3 mph. So what! Note the lack of precision in the definitions in the directive – “generally”, “of the order of”. The speeds are just a convenient shorthand, nothing more.
We have some mixed traffic routes where 125 mph running is allowed but these sections are not the entire route e.g. London Bristol about 80% of the line can be run at 125 but take Euston Glasgow or Kings Cross Edinburgh and its about 55-60%…There is very little 125 mph outside these corridors – the bulk of the ‘Inter-City’ network is a mixed traffic 100-110 mph operation. None of these are “high-speed lines” in the now globally accepted sense.
High speed lines are like HS1; specially built and separate from the conventional network. The important questions are whether we need more and where they might go. Trying to make out we have lots of “high speed rail” already is nutty. We don’t.
Sounds like some numpty at the DOT mixed up 250 mph and 250 kph ! The higher speed was chosen to rig a Cost Benefit Ratio that no one is worrying about now.
Im not convinced that investment in new or expanding road systems is the best way forward for this country.
Instead people need to have a mind change regarding their mode of transportation. So:
– Local roads, for local people, using ‘green vehicles’ (including bikes!) designed for local travel;
– This supported by well connected public transport systems, for distance travel and for work commute.
It would seem that the ‘privatisation of the existing road system could be a way to improve the quality of our existing roads (pot holes the size of the Grand Canyon in Bucks!) and perhaps a review of why we need county councils (who are the current highway authority). This I would support.
It just gets worse and worse.Nobody seems to look at a project and follow it through looking at it from all angles.They live in cloud cookoo
land and the real scary thing is that they are in control of country.Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
David Cameron had just set his next election platform by saying those things. I am not sure who I will vote yet but I am sure I will not vote him. I hope the hybrid bill will only happen after next general election and I wish there will be slightly more sense by then. Surely a legal challenge to this government is a must when they are acting out of touch, incompetence and illogical. They put so many lives on their hand making these type of decisions without telly up their own facts left from right. They deliberately hiding accurate facts from taxpayers and bully their way forward.
Perverse to think that when all is said and done it’s not through the threat to our civilised society by a foreign dictator and World Wars and conflict that this great country will be brought to it’s knees but by irresponsible government mis-managing public finances to extremes that will bankrupt us for decades to come and leaving a legacy of destruction in the pursuit of ‘legacy’ that benefits a tiny minority of commercial lobbyists from the construction industry.
Who in their right mind would suggest that the entire West Midlands be turned into a conurbation of a size that would see the total eradication of any greenbelt to the detriment of the towns and cities that exist today. Why would you actually want to suck finance and investment away from Birmingham and Coventry to finance a new ‘city’? The incompetence is staggering!