Going to the Party Conferences

Joe Rukin talking to Michael Crick (Channel 4)

Joe Rukin and Michael Crick from Channel 4 news at our 2012 stand

Stop HS2 will be going to some of the party conferences over the next couple of weeks.

Our main stand will be at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton next week, 22nd – 25th September.

We will be at Stand 81, in Meeting Room 1 (the Third Sector Zone). Please come and talk to us, or just collect some leaflets.

On Saturday, Joe Rukin will also be at the UKIP conference.

Going to the conferences gives us the chance to talk directly to senior politicians and ordinary party members.

It’s also a good way of meeting journalists, and talking to them about the wider issues.

It does however cost several thousand pounds to attend. This includes the cost of the stand itself, cost of travel, new leaflets and other materials, and a huge range of smaller expenses. So we’d really appreciate donations to help cover the cost of the stands, and our other campaigning over the next few months.

We have full details of how to donate by cheque, bank transfer or standing order on our donate page.

Or use the Paypal button below:

Just one of the sets of delegates coming to be photographed on the stall

Delegates coming to be photographed on the stand in 2011

4 comments to “Going to the Party Conferences”
  1. All of the polls for hs2 shows there are not the support for hs2 even in the north and where the stations are ,now labour are questioning the vast sums of money being spent and they saying the project could be in doubt .the sooner the other lot grabs the nettle the better and scraps this project the better we all will be

  2. “How much deception can you take ? How many lies will you create ?”

    This line from Teignmouth’s finest rock band came to mind as I worked through the KPMG report. It may not contain lies but it certainly contains plenty of deceptions, flawed assumptions and dubious causal links – and data from HS2 Ltd. Add me to the list of unconvinced people who have read through the 92 page document ( the first 72 claims to be an Executive Summary ) along with the likes of Robert Peston at the BBC and government advisor Prof Dan Graham.

    You can’t really blame KPMG. They are pleasing their master who will have paid them something like £ 250 k for the report. But more important they will be looking to productise a methodology which would get them work from any sponsor of a rail or road project, and probably any airport development, looking for a guaranteed thumbs up.

    I’m used to reviewing business plans and sometimes you just have to stand back from the detailed spreadsheets ( and logarithmic calculations ) and ask yourself if it makes sense.

    According to KPMG ( as evidenced on a map with lots of green dots ) the friends and family of Muse back in Devon might look forward to a bonanza from HS2. According to KPMG HS2 will boost the economy of Exeter, Torquay, Plymouth and St Austell ( to name but a few ) due to an increase in “business to business connectivity” — although the Plymouth to London journey will still generally take three and a half hours and HS2 doesn’t go anywhere near the South West ( check a map ! ).

    The government isn’t making a massive fuss about the KPMG report because it knows it would not stand up to proper scrutiny. However it just drops in little understated comments when Osborne or Cameron speak to the likes of the Institute of Directors or , no doubt , party conference. The idea is not to justify the project but simply to try to hand-off the very real concerns about it’s cost, primarily with the business community which is more sceptical than the government expected..

  3. There are MPs with substantial conflicts of interest with direct links to commercial organisations who stand to profit £bns courtesy of the taxpayer funded HS2 project. I could be considered a Chilterns Nimby but HS2 is in a tunnel at its closest point to myself. Therefore, when you consider the evidence below, HS2 has nothing to do with nimby attitudes and everything to do with conflicted MPs and big business profiteering from the taxpayer.

    When you read this summary and start to investigate the scale of this, it is hard not to conclude that HS2 creates enormous benefits for the UK but not, as presented, for rail “passengers” or “taxpayers” or “jobs”. It benefits profiteers, makes MPs claim they have created jobs when they haven’t and spends colossal amounts of taxpayer’s money with stunning disregard for jobs created v money spent. Make no mistake, there are 100`s of £bns, yes, 100`s of bns in asset values reliant on HS2 happening and none of the entities that stand to benefit are contributing anything to its build / they all have links to the Government or City Councils. This is about to become a major government scandal that will once again rock our faith in our government institutions.

    HS2 is about freight and logistics and the people who stand to profit from it. It’s about bringing lots of goods that are manufactured overseas in sweat shops, into the country. It’s about moving the jobs from one logistics method to another. It’s about certain businesses becoming organised and grabbing control of the financial ball ably facilitated by MPs and City Councilors. Some of the businesses that are already worth £billions will make £billions more and vastly more than the cost of HS2. Some of them pay little or no tax, some get substantial government hand outs but do not create the jobs claimed (see Exurbe report Peel and Liverpool May 2013), none of them are funding HS2 but all of them will make £bns directly as a consequence of it. Why is the taxpayer funding it when so many private businesses stand to make £bns? The evidence below is simply the tip of the iceberg:

    · Peel Holdings were criticised by the Public Accounts Committee for paying little or no tax. They are currently building 2 new freight mega hubs to transfer millions of tons of freight from Shipping to Rail. Salford Port is under construction and will be connected to the West Coast Line as soon as HS2 is built.

    · Liverpool2, their other Port, have complained that Liverpool needs an HS2 branch service also, so they can connect Liverpool2 up to the West Coast Line also. The Chancellor recently paid Liverpool2 £35 m to dredge the Mersey so they can take larger container ships.

    · Because the goods are all coming into the country, the Jobs they create are all jobs that exist somewhere else or will assist us to buy more goods that are manufactured overseas.

    · The ExUrbe report highlighted that despite the grand claims of job creation with these mega projects, in fact the jobs were simply relocations from elsewhere and what local jobs were created went to low paid and part time workers.

    · Peel are being paid £20 mn a year in rent by the recently relocated BBC – they own Media City Manchester. The entire development was in essence funded by the government (see ExUrbe report) to the tune of £400 mn+. So far they have created very few local jobs and the jobs created have been low paid or part time.

    · These businesses stand to make £bns from HS2 once it releases the capacity on the West Coast Mainline. HS2 is nothing to do with passenger capacity and everything to do with big business profiteering from it, ably assisted by our politicians who are either being remunerated or throw £bns into these projects so they can falsely claim a few thousand jobs are created.

    · The Chancellor has a father in law who served as minister for transport under Mrs Thatcher (the last time they talked about moving freight to rail). Since 2003, the father in law has been on a retainer with JR Central who own Nippon Sharyo who make the bullet trains that are dictating the line needs to run straight through an AONB but bend when it gets to Cheshire.

    · The Chancellor visited JR Central in 2006 and declared “we must have bullet trains in Britain”.

    · Our own minister for Transport, Simon Burns, visited JR Central in Japan this year………to see high speed in action?

    · Tim Yeo, former shadow transport secretary, is a non executive of Eurotunnel who own Rail Freight GB and also presides as a non executive chairman of Eco-City UK who make electric vans for last mile delivery.

    · HS2 releases massive capacity on the west coast and east coast main lines for logistics and rail freight companies to profit + Eurotunnel control exclusive rights to the channel tunnel so then gain a monopoly on European Freight coming into UK as a result of HS2.

    · Meanwhile they resolve their Achilles heal on “last mile delivery” by using electric delivery vans, the type Eco-City build, to offset the carbon created by last mile delivery but ignore the fact for every freight train they will take 60 HGVs from the motorways and replace with 600 vans on the local potholed roads.

    · Stephen Hammond our under secretary for transport has declared receiving donations from Deustche Bahn, the German rail operator who own DB Schenker – the £20bn a year generator of rail freight revenue who has trialed services to London from Italy, Poland and Frankfurt but won’t put their hand in their pocket to either fund HS2 or pay a respectable charge for the damage they cause our passenger rail lines.

    This all shows up in their ironic and absurd publicity claims.

    • High speed trains go fast so they need to go straight but it’s no longer about speed?!

    • The government is taking action to support communities affected by noise and environmental impact of wind farms, while cutting a subsonic noise generating 20 mile by 60 m scar through an AONB?!

    • Wind farms and HS2 are in the “national interest”, once upon a time so were historic buildings, protected species and AONB`s?

    • We have 10 rail lines in England that have more immediate “passenger service” capacity crunch problems than the West Coast Mainline but we are spending £50 bn on HS2 to relieve the WCML because it “might” run out of capacity sometime between now and 2050?!

    (*note – George Osborne and Simon Burns have both recently stated publicly that the West Coast Mainline is already at capacity – despite the fact Network Rails reports say different! Network Rail has since tried to hide these reports. The boss of Virgin Rail has stated publicly that the problems on the West Coast Line are simply lack of train signaling equipment, longer trains and stations and otherwise there is no immediate capacity issue “for passenger services”.)

    • The biggest growth / demand in rail line usage is rail freight, but HS2 cannot carry freight?!

    • Heavy freight degrades the West Coast Mainline and is the primary reason for the high maintenance cost per trip as a consequence of wear and tear, but freight pays less per trip than passenger services?!

    • The Office for Rail Responsibility tried to raise these charges, but the Rail freight Industry said they couldn’t afford it – DB Schenker makes £20 bn a year in revenue?!

    • HS2 will heal the north south divide, but services to Coventry, Leicester, Stoke, Stockport and Wakefield are all being cut (some in half)?!

    • The HS2 project will mean significant carbon reduction, but faster trains require 3 times more electricity per train at a time we are running out of generating capacity, meantime we intend to close all our coal fired power stations in 2015 to meet our carbon reduction commitments?!

    • Its all about connectivity but it won’t connect to Europe, HS1 or Heathrow and there is even talk it won’t connect with Central London if they stop it at Old Oak Common?!

    • It will remove up to half the HGV`s from our roads making 50,000 lorry drivers and other dispatch personnel unemployed, but it will create 50,000 jobs at the same time?!

    • The removal of HGV`s will unclog the nations motorway arteries with 60 HGVs saved per single freight train, but it will increase the number of vans on our potholed local roads by 600 per freight service.

    There are also major safety concerns as a result of the route that has been chosen. The route proving engineer, Ove Arup, was very clear in their App C – geotechnical considerations tunnel study from 2009/10 (this informed the route selection process) that the route through the Chilterns posed significant geotechnical challenges and the geology itself posed significant risks. Describing almost all the strata as suspect they used words such as “vulnerable to shrinkage and swelling”, “material has low strength and high moisture content”, “contains groundwater and will be troublesome for earthworks slope stability”, “careful handling required”, “slope instability problems” etc etc. The same materials HS2 recently suggested could be used to make noise reducing Bunds as part of their plan to distribute the 800,000 m3 of material they need to dispose of………..repeat, slope instability problems! A 250mph train smashes into a landslide and you don`t want to be living within 1 km of that location. Ove Arup knew this route would be troublesome both to construct safely and to dispose of material (furthest point from a motorway you could get). They learned from HS1 and crossrail that soil disposal needs to be taken out near a motorway otherwise it becomes troublesome and dangerous.

    Ove Arup recommended against this route and suggested the route that would follow the M40 corridor (as per HS1 follows existing transport corridor). Ove Arup were removed from the design of the section of the route passing through the AONB.

    In 2005, the new Gerrards Cross cut and cover tunnel collapsed onto the mainline. This new tunnel and technique is similar to the type HS2 intend to use in 7 different sections of the line as it travels through the AONB.

    The HSE investigated the collapse but 8 years later have still not published their report and findings. There have been two explanations. Firstly the contractor did not backfill properly (evenly) which led to structural collapse on one side. However, there has also been strong evidence to suggest the collapse was hydrological in nature, namely water (rain, run off and migration) overloaded one side of the structure. AONBs by their very nature have lots of rain, run off and migrating water (the Misbourne Basin creates 20% of London’s fresh water).

    There is already a real risk of tunnel collapse / land slide by virtue of the combination of amplitude of hydrology flows and poor ground conditions and making bunds out of material that HS2`s own engineer states “has slope instability problems” really does need investigation.

    Furthermore, the recent round of Consultations on the Environmental Statement revealed that they have undertaken no traffic studies or hydrology studies. Their lack of traffic planning and what we are hearing as their solutions (taking 20 ton vehicles down single track access roads that are heavily used by locals) is potentially very dangerous from a road safety perspective. I am more worried at the lack of flood risk assessment and potential for land slide as a consequence of run off. I believe their attenuation facilities will need to be far greater than shown in the ES, the risk of flooding on main roads due to steep topography and amplitude of hydrology in the AONB is a very dangerous combination in engineering circles.

    I have written to HS2 and the Secretary of State to point this out. I have been told that Ove Arup were removed because their report was “investigative” and HS2 is moving to a “delivery” phase – I fail to see how this answers the question with regard to the route chosen in respect of safety?

    My conclusion is simply, HS2 is nothing to do with passengers and everything to do with logistics and freight profiteering. MPs are either conflicted or have had complete disregard for taxpayer’s money. Irrespective of any suggestion of impropriety, there is no logic to the current route of HS2, the need for its speed, the need for it to pass through an AONB, but above all I believe the route to be dangerous and decisions made by politicians and expenditure they are making will lead to public safety concerns and significant profits by major business organisations in the UK and overseas who pay little or no tax to the UK Government.

    If we need the capacity, then freight companies and those profiting must pay full tax as well as funding the entirety of HS2. The route needs to be reviewed for safety reasons. If its no longer about speed then we should be investigating alternative means of delivering the capacity. Network Rail are hugely subsidised by the UK taxpayer but they are a runaway branch of government, unaccountable to government, operating grossly inefficiently, in huge amounts of debt and facilitating big business to profit from the UK taxpayer. The Ministers supporting HS2 need to resign or be investigated for offences while in office. This is a scandel waiting to happen.

  4. HS2 is reduced to politics and a political football. It is about sops to the marginals in the North and giving public money to infrastructure pals. The political dream is becoming a civic nightmare. The public, public money and the countryside count for nothing. On the same day that an HS2 ltd ‘surprise’ 800,000 cubic metres (and counting) of spoil are to be spread within an AONB we are informed that the line may not even reach the centre of the capital let alone connect with any where of any utility.

    With the pressures of ‘reality’ mounting HS2 protagonists now underline the previous ‘not speed’ soundbite. The new suggestion is that HS2 does not connect to a central London terminus or arrive in a central Birmingham one. Any time saving of hugely expensive high speed conveyancing between suburbs is now to be spent on two ancillary journeys. Potentially a journey longer that using the Chiltern Line centre to centre and at what cost?
    Good for taxis. Good for property developers benefitting from the land grab and public purse.
    Good for the nation?. Oh I forgot its all about capacity…………but that myth has been debunked as well!
    This latest bit of skewed logic really demonstrates how far the barrel of ‘logic’ has had to be scraped …………….to the point of delusion.
    A means to an end, and end for an end.
    The plan was wrong, The route was wrong. This rather proves the point.
    Why Oak Common when there is already a a huge international station and regeneration area (built as part of the Olympic ‘legacy) going to waste?
    Sounds like Old Oak is headed the same way.

    If I was commuting to Birmingahm would use Marylebone and the Chiltern line. Who can be ****** to make 2 changes and 3 journeys when one will suffice.
    Why stop at Old Oak? why not make the London HS2 terminus Marylebone/ ‘Birmingham’ on the basis of this logic that would save many billions and political votes which is why I am sure this lstest revision/grand revision has been proposed.
    Its all bunkum; last minute knee jerk reactions such as this only highlight the original lack of proper planning and the ‘political’ as opposed to essential nature of this whole project.

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