Despite the need for national austerity and cuts across the board, HS2, the proposed high speed rail link is still set to go ahead. Despite the fact the public consultation has not even started yet, the Spending Review Document states;

“The Government is also proceeding with its plans to deliver a new high speed rail network from London to Birmingham, and then to both Manchester and Leeds, and will bring forward legislation during this Parliament that would allow the project to proceed.”

The DfT Capital budget faces a cumulative cut of 11% by 2015. £750m is scheduled to be spent on HS2 by then, despite the fact HS2 is only expected to receive parliamentary approval in 2015.

On Monday 25th October Stop HS2, the national campaigning body against the high speed rail proposals will take their arguments to Westminster where a lobby day has been organised by south Northamptonshire MP, Andrea Leadsom. 

Chris Stokes, formerly the Executive Director of the Strategic Rail Authority and a Board Member of the Office of Rail Regulation who will speak at the lobby day said;

“Parts of the HS2 business case make it feel like taking penalty kicks with no goalkeeper.” 

Stop HS2 Convenor Joe Rukin said;

“Every time we point out the flaws in the case for HS2, the Government change their arguments. Philip Hammond was saying the business case is robust, but now is saying a revised case will be put to public consultation, but it is clear the Government just considers the consultation to be a legal hoop they have to jump through. There is provision for £750m worth of spending before the Hybrid Bill is due to have gone through Parliament. How they can spend that level of money before a single sod has been turned is beyond us, but we know they will use this as an excuse for HS2 having to go ahead.” 

“It is amazing that the Government are still willing to go ahead with this when everything else has been cut. They saying it will regenerate the regions, but the key study conducted for HS2 Ltd by Imperial College states that the amount of new economic growth created by HS2 would be ‘very small indeed’. This is all about pandering to a very small number of businessmen who want to go to and from Europe without having to change trains in London.”

“We will campaign and lobby hard to get the facts across to the public, the politicians and the press, but we accept that we need alternative strategies and have launched a funding appeal for, amongst other things, a Judicial Review. In terms of a case for Judicial Review, obviously we can’t go into too many of the details at the moment for fear of prejudicing future legal proceedings, but the evidence is stacking up.”

Donations can be made online at www.stophs2.org and cheques to ‘Stop HS2’ should be sent to 2 Caesar Road, Kenilworth, CV8 1DL. 

  1. STOP HS2 is the national group campaigning on behalf of anti-HS2 action groups up and down the proposed route. See http://www.stophs2.org.
  2. The parliamentary lobby day will take place on 25th October, 2.30-4.30 in Portcullis House.
  3. To contact Andrea Leadsoms office, call Marc Pooler on 07816 193759.
  4. For more details contact Joe Rukin on 07811 371880.
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