Appeared on the Gazette website on March 29th 2011:
I HAVE already told you a bit about the impact of HS2 on our local community and some of the tricks the Coalition are using to get HS2 to sound appealing.
It’s worth knowing though, that there is a really good reason for every single person in the country, wherever they live to want these proposals stopped in their tracks:
1. £33 billion of our taxpayers money is going to pay for HS2 at a time of recession and unprecedented cuts. To put this in perspective – insurance claims in Japan following the recent earthquake and tsunami have been estimated at £34 billion (source: Bloomberg). This will really be the most expensive railway in the world!!
2. The case for HS2 is for it to link London to Manchester, Leeds and beyond but no specific routes in those areas have been published. Many cities are pro-HS2 not realising that they are either going to be bypassed (and end up with less trains to London than they have now) or be selected and then have parts of them devastated as HS2 hurtles through the suburbs at 300kph. Or worse the stretch North of Birmingham may never be built as there is no money to pay for it yet, and all the cost and devastation will be for nothing!!
3. The route is skewed via West London to interchange with Crossrail and to allow HS2 to link with Heathrow at a later date, this means it is not following the route the engineers employed on the project, and lots of other experts recommended. It also reduces the time saving on the journey compared to a more direct route.
4. This route increases the risk of a future third runway in Heathrow as it will make the journey to the airport easier and available to more passengers. Additionally if travellers choose to take the HS2 train instead of internal UK flights, airports will fill any empty slots with other flights, their runways will not stand empty so it will not actually reduce flight volume at all.
5. The consultation is lacking lots of information, is flawed and full of errors Ð this is an insult to the British public and taxpayers and to those most affected by the proposal. It also raises doubts about the true cost and devastation HS2 will cause. How can we trust them if they contradict themselves within their own documents? The first HS2 roadshow in Euston last week, was shambolic and an embarassment to the government, can this organisation (HS2 Ltd.) and the DfT really be trusted with such a large project when they cannot even carry out a consultation.
6. HS2 are purposefully with-holding information from the public Ð they can choose to with-hold anything that makes the proposal look bad or may make it even less popular and then claim it is in the public interest and this is what they are doing.
7. We already have High Speed Rail in this country, our existing West and East Coast Main Lines already go as fast as ‘High Speed’ trains in other European countries and are classed as High Speed according to EU standards.
8. The HS2 proposal is based on trains from Birmingham to London every 2 minutes carrying 1,100 passengers. Tickets will cost a fortune. It is unlikely these trains will ever be full. HS1(the Channel Tunnel route) has only 6 to 8 trains an hour now, if that.
9. The trains will run through and affect Areas of Natural Outstanding Beauty, lakes, 10 important Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Local Nature Reserves, Local Wildlife Sites and 50 ancient woodlands, and that’s just between London and Birmingham.
10. HS2 is not Green. The Green Party will not support it because it will not reduce demand for travel, CO2 emissions or energy use. It will be guzzling electricity in the future when there will be a real issue with energy supply and may end up being dependent on nuclear energy.
So if HS2 is not tickling your fancy for any of the reasons above, whether you live along the route or not, come and and join us at the Ruislip Against HS2 protest at the Winston Churchill Hall, Pinn Way, Ruislip. 6-8pm on Wednesday and Thursday, March 30 and 31. You might even get on the telly!!