Some recent HS2 related news items

Not surprisingly, since the announcement of Phase 2 of HS2, there has been a huge amount of press coverage. With the new Phase 2 route, numerous local media outlets north of Birmingham have been looking at what HS2 means for their area: here is just a small selection of the articles published recently.

York Mix: ‘Flawed and irresponsible’: why HS2 is a colossal error

York-based rail expert Jonathan Tyler argues that the £35 billion rail plan is a political vanity project which will deliver few improvements and cause untold damage

Burton Mail: HS2 levelled with further criticism

ENVIRONMENTAL and residents’ groups are among those to have joined the list of critics of the proposed HS2 high-speed rail project.

Tracks carrying 225mph trains will come within 10 miles of Burton if the proposed routes are adopted.

Yorkshire Evening Post: Leeds community in path of HS2 rail path launches fightback

A COMMUNITY in the path of the proposed HS2 rail link to Leeds has launched a fight back.

More than 50 residents packed a hastily organised meeting at the Two Pointers pub, in Woodlesford, after reading the proposed route of the high speed railway line between Leeds and London will see an up to 14m high viaduct pass by their houses.

Warrington Guardian: ‘Strong’ turnout for HS2 meeting in Glazebrook (From )

RESIDENTS in Glazebrook turned out in force to voice their opinions on the HS2 plans at the village’s action group on Monday.

The action group has previously fought off plans to build a motorway through the village more than 20 years ago which would have linked the M6 to the M62.

Bolton News: Doubt over benefits of high-speed rail (From The Bolton News)

EXPERTS have cast doubt on the Prime Minister’s prediction that a new rail line will boost Bolton business.

The Government announced plans last week to extend the proposed London to Birmingham HS2 train line as far as Manchester by 2032 to cut journey times.

But transport experts claim there is little evidence that the North will benefit and say the cash could be spent on other projects.

Banbury Guardian: Zero valuation on HS2 property an ‘admin’ error

The Woolwich building society has said a ‘zero’ valuation of a village property in the shadow of the proposed HS2 line was an ‘administrative’ error.

It was reported last week that blind, 97-year-old Elfrida Harper-Tarr had her home in Turweston on the market for £275,000 but a potential buyer failed to get a mortgage after The Woolwich valued the property at £0.00.

Knutsford Guardian: Stud owners ‘numb’ over ‘HS2 nightmare’

THE proprietors of an award-winning stud on the outskirts of Knutsford have said they are in ‘limbo’ after the announcement of the proposed £33 billion HS2 rail line.

Pickmere Stud owners Pat Mather and John Keleher were left devastated when news broke last Monday that the proposed route of the HS2 high speed rail link would take it directly through their business.

Narrowboat World: HS2 affects Chesterfield restoration

THE new high speed rail line between Birmingham and Leeds will greatly affect the restoration of the Chesterfield Canal, intersecting it in five places.

This is Leicestershire:HS2 threat to Measham village plan in Leicestershire

Bernard Wilson, from the Measham Land Company consortium, said: “It goes through part of the site and the nearby Westminster industrial estate.

“If it were to go ahead, it would render the development un-doable.

“It is a body blow as these plans have been in the making for some 15 years and would be great for Measham.”

This is Tamworth: ‘HS2 a monster intrusion into our landscape and our lives’

ENVIRONMENTAL watchdogs have savaged ambitious high-speed rail plans as a “monster intrusion into our landscape and our lives”.

Coventry Telegraph: HS2 rail project will cut through green belt between Coventry and Kenilworth

THE narrow strip of green belt that separates Coventry and Kenilworth is to be dug up during the construction of HS2.

Latest plans seen by the Telegraph show a swathe of land the size of 50 football pitches being claimed by the £32billion rail project – which will see the green barrier virtually disappear at its narrowest point.

21 comments to “Some recent HS2 related news items”
  1. Peter this yr 2bill next yr 2 bill all waisted money when
    This project is stopped in its tracks better to put what ever money we have into jobs now in the north and put a end to hs2 which no one wants except the people who can see To make a fast buck or make a name for, themselves

  2. With our country losing our triple a status we should now put a stop to hs2 before any more of our money is waisted and start putting our money
    Into projects up north to make jobs now and get us out of this mess now not in 30 yrs time can these mps see that in 30 yrs time when this project has cost 100 bill because of increase in interest rates legel bills com pension claims no one in our country will be able to afford to travel on it so come on let’s get on top of our debts now pull the country around by getting the work force back to work and when the country can afford grand.projects like hs2 we have the cash to pay for it not put on the credit card and pay the high rates we will be paying now.even. 2 bill a yr would make a awful lot of jobs now

    • @J.davis: “2 bill a yr would make a awful lot of jobs now”

      Perhaps @J.davis but as I have been at pains to point out, several times but you seem either incapable or unwilling to understand, there is no magic money tree right now for HS2 – no one at the DfT or HS2Ltd is writing multi-billion £ cheques right now, are they? Your only credible option to reallocate serious rail infrastructure funding right now is cancellation of CrossRail.

      To the best of my knowledge a lot less than 1% of the total headline budget for HS2 has been spent and a significant proportion of the relatively modest sums committed so far is actually creating highly paid, design based jobs – they may not be the kind of jobs you have in mind because they are helping to create a new rail line coming somewhere near you but it is gainful employment – design engineers spend their salaries in local shops too?

      • But it would be spent , and added to the nation’s debt, in the end wouldn’t it ? That is what matters. That is what you choice to ignore again and again . £ 39 bn spent and only a modest proportion coming back in over the next 70 years .

        J Davis’ point about the AAA rating is very pertinent. Other things being equal this WILL put up borrowing costs . Therefore the discount rate used should be revised . This makes a RUBBISH ECONOMIC CASE EVEN WORSE. ( I will do the sums properly when I get a spare half hour but I suspect a 1 % increase in borrowing costs probably takes off about 0.3 or 0.4 off the BCR ). With a return like that the much cited Victorians would never have built HS2.

  3. lelliO you put it so well to Padav but he has to keep up his one man crusade to destroy our countryside that he would not appreciate the beauty around him.He is sadly only happy sat by his computer in a stuffy room.

  4. Well ofcourse Peter Davidson works for or has strong HS2 Ltd. connections . In it for his own gain naturally ! You don’t actually think he believes all his own rhetoric and verbal diarrhea do you ! He’s on the payroll !!!

    • Dear Penny

      Please ask whoever Neil Pepler is to withdraw this baseless comment- we’ve been through this nonsense before

      I’m surprised you even allowed this comment to appear!

        • Dear Penny

          You know very well that I have nothing whatsoever to do with HS2Ltd or the DfT

          You should also be aware that the libel laws extend to this site

          I have also explained in the past (or have you conveniently forgotten?) that I am active member of Unlock Democracy – so what?

          You personally rebuked me for bringing up the topic of the voting system as directly relevant to your campaign, commenting that retention of First Past the Post during the May 2011 AV Referendum materially damages your campaign’s hopes of unseating any incumbent MP via the challenge of a single issue anti-HS2 candidate. I still hold that viewpoint and the validity of my comment will be borne out during the 2015 General Election campaign

          You say you’ve moderated out some of the comment but the most damaging remark still remains in plain sight – you bear a personal responsibility as site moderater to screen out questionable remarks (you seem have no qualms about refusing to accept perfectly reasonable comments I’ve made) and in the case of Neil Pepler above, a comment that is baseless and potentially subject to legal redress, which you could find yourself (on behalf of StopHS2) dragged into so I’d think very carefully about your next course of action?

          • With Moderators Hat firmly on, and a reminder to everyone:

            The comments on the Stop HS2 website are there to enable people to discuss the articles which they are attached to. The moderation policy excludes off-topic comments: this includes the voting system, religion, shoes, and a variety of other topics people try and post about. Some topics – such as the London Underground – may sometimes be relevant to an article, at the moderators discretion. Also sometimes the discussion takes a wondering route away from the original post, and this often means a comment at the end of the thread is not relevant to the original article, but is still allowed.

            Like most websites, personal attacks are not permitted. There are many comments posted which never appear from posters across the full spectrum of opinions on HS2. We get some emails complaining about comments that have been allowed, and also complaints from commenters that comments has not been allowed. Moderators decision is final.

            We do not edit comments: they are either released in full, or with-held entirely. Complaints about the moderation policy using means a comment is not allowed.

            Speculation about Peter Davidson’s employers is specifically off limits.

    • To be fair to Padav I think he works in international Freight.
      Therefore, he may have an interest and a passion for the matter.

      HS2ltd have enormous resources at their fingertips. They have been formed at the behest and financed by parliament.
      It is this governmental intention (and unseen strings and unheard voices that influence and direct) that cannot be challenged*
      that I think we should be most concerned about. We can all argue with Padav.

      In my most cynical moments I think that boards and blogs are encouraged (and monitored) to allow an impotent venting process to diffuse the public ire which otherwise would be more manifest. Anyone who has watched the Parliamentary proceedings on the announcements of HS2 will see that the level of general debate or concern is minimal. Burns implied that dissenting MPs were not responding to the facts of HS2 but out of regard for their constituencies. Suggesting that if not tied to their constituency they would likely support it.

      Mr Burns said he understood why fellow MPs were opposing the project: “They are representing the concerns of their constituencies,” he said. “But this is in the national interest to go ahead and the problems it poses to individual constituencies are minimal, particularly when you assess the benefits.”
      *“right processes” were in the pipeline to offset the High Court case” (Burns).

  5. “Straight or Kinky?”

    Paul is understandably concerned that that dodgy deals may have taken place and somehow made the impossible possible.”I meant to go straight, Guv, and then it all went wobbly- but I can still make it to the end…”

    Whatever the possible political reasons, perhaps there is a more straightforward explanation for seemingly to achieve the impossible.
    If the Manchester trains are to call at Manchester Airport, a few miles south of the city centre, then it is unlikely that they would want or need to travel at anything near the maximum line speed-400 kph/ 250 mph or even the operating speed 225mph- on either side of the airport stop or when approaching the terminus.
    Therefore a more curvacious route could be accepted, without defying the laws of physics or compromising the overall journey times.

    (Which is not to say that there may not have been some lobbying and discreet deals !)

    • I only reported what the good councillors themselves told the media. The retraction they made was whether Osborne was involved.
      Their comments are consistent with their earlier comments in general.
      I think the issue is the earlier proposed route rather than the current one (on the relevant maps shown Black and Purple)
      The whole line picks a different, less direct, course compared to the first phase.
      This in itself is an issue of true north south division of principle and practice by HS2ltd.

      As an aside (on the basis of self reported revelations) although the buses in Manchester were using lawns versus jobs campaign it is in the Manchester area that this maxim has become the reality. Manchester has 9 miles of tunnel, kept its wealthy suburban mansions intact, its chosen countryside and this dependent on the destruction + blight of others locally and distally. Manchester is of course one of the greatest beneficiaries of this project and many people across the country will be paying for it in many ways.

  6. @Paul Harlow: “Gone is egalitarianism in its true sense . It only exists as far as it garners votes for whatever party. The investment in staying the same has been revealed by the failure to reform that mockery of democracy “The House of Lords”, the addition of another 50-100 members to the same, the failure to amend the boundaries and proportionality of seats to voters and the failure for England to have its own parliament and equal voice in the United Kingdoms.”

    It’s remarkable how you are allowed free rein to post at will on a wide range of related issues, yet those who are supportive of High Speed Rail policy are rebuked by the moderator for straying off topic. I’ve been pulled up by Penny (who moderates this site) more than once, for having the audacity to raise the topic of democratic accountability and its relevance to HS2 – it seems you suffer no such censure – double standards again?

    For the record I reject much of your analysis and conclusions concerning the dysfunctionality of British democracy – more influential factors are;

    • The voting system itself, rather than any false analogy relating to proportionality of constituency electorate numbers. Adoption of the Single Transferable Vote in multi-member constituencies would render the issue of constituency sizes virtually meaningless.

    • Dispersal of effective of political power to relevant sub-UK entities. An English Parliament is a constitutional blind alley – please explain how an English Parliament will deliver more effective governance outcomes for (the already) marginalised English peripheries – England represents approximately 85% of the UK’s population – any quasi-Federal UK state based on “a union of the four kingdoms”, to which you seem to allude, would be fatally unbalanced and unsustainable in the longer term.

    • Peter Davidson says

      ‘It’s remarkable how you are allowed free rein to post at will on a wide range of related issues, yet those who are supportive of High Speed Rail policy are rebuked by the moderator for straying off topic. I’ve been pulled up by Penny (who moderates this site) more than once, for having the audacity to raise the topic of democratic accountability and its relevance to HS2 – it seems you suffer no such censure – double standards again?’

      I would point out that you are allowed to post on stop hs2 when that is the last thing you want to do

      Please provide a link to a pro hs2 site that I can post on— I don’t even get answers to my questions from dft but just standard paragraphs

      • errrr…..@John

        I don’t run a pro-HS2 website so don’t ask me about their posting policies

        What’s more I don’t work for the DfT either so your vitriol is being directed at the wrong person?

        • Hi Peter/padav, I note you didn’t mention anything about working for hs2 Ltd (of course you don’t!). You’re far too busy blogging on every available web site, newspaper article and report to have time to set up a website or to even contemplate a full time job elsewhere. I am so used to seeing your name/s/ alter egos everywhere nowadays ranting about us Nimbys that I groan inwardly and skip most of your vitriol. I wonder how many of those you are preaching to feel the same? I have noticed a tendency for bloggers to the Beeb, the Telegraph, the Grauniad etc to adopt a similar attitude to mine.

          You are spreading yourself too thinly and predictably nowadays old chum – you’re losing your street cred. Take a break, smell the daffs, and tell yourself that not everyone who holds a differing opinion to your good self is a luddite, ignorant, whining, toff who doesn’t know his a”*se from his elbow.

    • My response is not party political for my argument implicates most parties.

      Fact 1
      Public ‘Consultation’ regarding HS2 phase 1 80-90 disagreed (depending on source)
      HS2 is thus not a project in which the public have had a genuine participation related to a proper level of partnership and citizen control.

      Public consultation, is a regulatory process by which the public’s input on matters affecting them is sought. Its main goals are in improving the efficiency, transparency and public involvement in large-scale projects or laws and policies. It usually involves notification (to publicise the matter to be consulted on), consultation (a two-way flow of information and opinion exchange) as well as participation (involving interest groups in the drafting of policy or legislation) A frequently used tool for understanding different levels of community participation in consultation is known as Arsteins Ladder. The particular importance of Arnstein’s work stems from the explicit
      recognition that there are different levels of participation, from manipulation or therapy of citizens, through to consultation, and to what we might now view as genuine participation, i.e. the levels of partnership and citizen control.
      from wikipedia

      On this basis HS2 appears to be a Government Manipulation.

      Fact 2 The decision to proceed with HS2 does not represent a true democratic process
      Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives.

      HS2 therefore appears to be a political imposition on a populace that do not want it and have not been properly consulted.

      Fact 3 One reason for the lack of democracy is the intermeddling of vested interest in governmental process.
      ‘ political inequality is widening rapidly. While representative democracy is notionally built on princi­ples of political equality (such as one person, one vote), there have always been wide variations in the extent of political participation, and degree of political power exercised, by different social groups. However, political inequalities in the UK have grown over the past four decades, in tandem with the widening of economic and social divisions.

      FIGURE 3 Connections between major corporations and politicians
      (follow link below to see this)
      Fourth, corporate power is growing, partly as a result of wider patterns of globalisation and deregulation, and threatens to undermine some of the most basic princi­ples of democratic decision-making. Business interests have always enjoyed privileged status in modern de­mocracies. However, the influence that large corpora­tions and wealthy individuals now wield on the UK political system seems unprecedented in the post-war period. There is powerful evidence of politics and business interests becoming increasingly interwoven. The density of connections (directorships, consultancies or shareholdings) between major corporations and MPs is many times greater in the UK than in other established democracies (see Figure 3).

  7. Paul, I need to correct you on one thing. John Bercow is totally opposed to HS2 and supports his Buckingham constituents unstintingly in their fight both to stop the thing and to be properly compensated should it go ahead.

    • I was taking a systemic view rather than a personality based one.
      Politics has become a profession with a plethora of unseen and indeed unelected ‘influencers’ beyond the Civil Service (itself under threat from same consultants and the like. It is like an old ‘Court’ of history and as ‘Byzantine’ to penetrate. Accountability becomes diffuse and the ‘focus’ and ‘lens’ of issues and topics has interesting driving forces.

      The Tatton Kink ( and I am sure there are others that have been negotiated but not trumpetted ) is of systemic interest particularly as it relates to the stated constraints, overall design brief, practice and the Chilterns AONB. It is a seeming anomalles the process could be investigated.
      It is a shame that RT Hon Bercow did not facilitate the discussion of the Tatton KInk by opposition by bringing the house to order.

      “but was cut off by Speaker John Bercow as the of heckling from Tory MPs threatened to drown out the Labour leader”.

  8. Just How Politically Kinky is the Tatton Issue?
    There are issues that should be addressed but which the media seem unable to penetrate.
    The past week has revealed the betrayal of the nations trust by the ‘Hon’ and ‘Noble’ members of the Palace of Westminster as revealed by MORI. It is a week that saw the cynical self preserving lies and perversion of justice by Huhne one time contender for the Leadership of the Liberal Democrats over a matter quite paltry.
    It is also a week where same rich members demanded that their food and drink be subsidized whilst the poor face increasing costs of their daily bread.

    It is the ‘let them eat cake moment’ for modern times.

    Parliament has become a world of its own and the lives of ordinary, are dare I say it, lesser folk, proles, plebians and the like are really not considered. The Houses have once again become places of grand ideals and plans that are imposed on the people often in the face of clear and contradictory evidence.
    I am reminded of the Court of Marie Antoinette at the Hameaux, beleiving their role play as a truthful representation of ordinary lives. The Hon Members seem afflicted by the same delusions.

    Gone is egalitarianism in its true sense . It only exists as far as it garners votes for whatever party. The investment in staying the same has been revealed by the failure to reform that mockery of democracy “The House of Lords”, the addition of another 50-100 members to the same, the failure to amend the boundaries and proportionality of seats to voters and the failure for England to have its own parliament and equal voice in the United Kingdoms.

    There is a huge disconnect between the democratic process and the democratic voices they apparently represent. So much is done in the name of the people and so little actually relates to the conditions and preoccupations, they the people face.
    A trawl through Conservative Home or Labour Left shows the forces behind the . facade that is English democracy.

    Let us take the Tatton Kink as an example

    This matter is significant in terms of our ability to trust. To an impartial observer something seems wrong. One or both parties of a happy diad appear to obfuscated the truth. At stake is the process of true understanding whereby HS2 has been imposed on a population and the grounds for the route it has been taken. Much has been made of the imparitality and necessity these factors by HS2 and its administration.
    The issue should be subject to an inquiry such is the importance of what has been said ,reported, retracted and subsequently spun.
    That East Cheshire council have since asked the population for’ a dialogue’ about HS2 in the context of the above is extra-ordinary and shows cynicism and hutzpah.

    Let us refresh the facts .It was reported in other news sources that Michael Jones, the leader of Cheshire East council, issued a press release saying: “Your MPs George Osborne, Edward Timpson and I, have fought hard to keep the line away from Knutsford and Tatton, which we have been successful in achieving.”

    The article below published locally has more detail and more comment from other voices including the Mayor that seemingly support the original version of events.

    Contained in this text are the following
    It had been thought the new line – part of a £32.7bn project – could run near Wilmslow and Alderley Edge, blighting land and property for decades.
    But after discussions between councillors, Cheshire East leader Michael Jones and Chancellor and Tatton MP George Osborne, the route will cut through land nearer Tatton Park and Knutsford, touching the Tatton constituency to the west.Mr Osborne said the line would be an ‘engine for growth’, easing overcrowding and creating tens of thousands of jobs – but conceded there would be outrage in affected areas.David Lewis, of campaign group Residents Of Wilmslow, said: “In a sense we can breathe a sigh of relief, but there’s a great swathe of countryside that will be affected.”*Coun George Walton, mayor, said the council worked with the chancellor to minimise impact. He said: “The line has to come north and we support that for economic growth and jobs, but someone somewhere has to be affected.”Coun Gary Barton said: “I’m in favour of the line. It stays away from Wilmslow and will be great for the Wilmslow economy, to keep us connected and boost business.”

    The suggestion perceived within these statements is that 0.7-1bn of public money was seemingly committed in order to (clandestinely) alter the proposed route and that the agency of this was George Osborne. That this involved a kink and speed reduction in a railway whose straight route and speed was an inviolable given and has formed the basis of many absolute imperatives from HS2 ltd.

    Mr Osbornes staff have refuted this allegation. (He has not been subject to press questioning on the matter that I can determine) and the specified press statement was withdrawn by the council as ‘error’ after it created a scandal. Before that it had been self laudatory propaganda as to their power and connections.
    The press release that most people read reported that Michael Jones, the leader of Cheshire East council, issued a press release saying: “Your MPs George Osborne, Edward Timpson and I, have fought hard to keep the line away from Knutsford and Tatton, which we have been successful in achieving.”
    The matter was half heartedly rasied by Mr Miliband in Parliament who began to read Mr Jones’ comments but was cut off by Speaker John Bercow as the volume of heckling from Tory MPs threatened to drown out the Labour leader.
    I suggest that because he supports HS2 (and this issue is highly controversial in respect of this) he did not press the matter very hard nor did he pursue clarification. If it had been a matter he disagreed on, he is likely to have taken it further.
    Mr. Cameron jumped in to rescue his colleage by saying “Let me say on high-speed rail, which goes right through the middle of the Chancellor’s constituency, we are proud of the fact that it’s this Government that has taken the decision to invest.”
    But he ignored the pressing points, 1)which population of Tatton would be disadvantaged and angry 2) Points of procedure raised . Nor did his reply answer the allegations raised.
    As indicated above it was not just Michael Jones whose comments were reported. Could three experienced people have got their account of their own actions so wrong?
    It seems likely pressure was put on the council to retract the statement. The national press did not seemingly pick up all the voices that had contributed their own accounts of this statement. The council (one expects under government pressure) withdrew the statement thus
    ‘In a press release Cheshire East Council stated that George Osborne had fought hard to keep the HS2 rail link out of his constituency in Knutsford and Tatton.‘In fact, this is not the case and MP George Osborne had no say whatsoever over the proposed route of the HS2 link. We are happy to set the record straight.’

    A spokesman for Mr Osborne said: ‘Cheshire East put something out but corrected it when they realised they were wrong. We have made clear throughout the process that George has never sought to influence the route.

    The important issue is the known facts: the impossible to bend route is decidedly kinky in phase 2, poor areas will now suffer HS2, the rich suburbs avoided and the varied accounts don’t add up. This is a kink in the unkinkable (Chilterns AONB argument HS2ltd)
    The intent and initial belief of the councillors was that they had manipulated the route and got what they wanted.
    How this occurred remains a mystery albeit that somewhere the truth is known and is likely being supressed because of its greater political significance.

    Now East Cheshire council is inviting their population to enagage in a discussion about HS2. Perhaps the first discussion should be disclosure as to how the route was determined and their role in this process.

    It is a strange matter however that the Prime minister and Chancellor have now imply that they have no say in the route and would not influence a project that they defend and support.
    Is this likely? Well as this is what they say, it must be politically true.
    (It also makes it likely that 80% of the population will not believe it).
    To maintain decorum let us believe what they say.

    It then leaves the question who is in control of this costly project ,who makes the decisions and what is their political accountability? That the most senior politicians admit to being rubber stamps rather than influential leaders in a project of this sort should raise red flags.

    Or is it just a sad truth, akin to the court of Marie Antoinette; our contemporary ‘courtiers and influential’ predigest the world the in order that the artifice of democracy (that is contemporary politics) can continue?

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