HS2 Update for November 2010
Transport Secretary makes High Speed Rail announcement
On Monday 4 October the Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, gave a speech at the Conservative Party Conference reaffirming the Government’s commitment to building a new high-speed rail line (HS2), the first leg of which would run between London and Birmingham. He also outlined plans for the second phase, which would see the line divide north of Birmingham, with one branch going to Manchester, and the other to Leeds. Mr. Hammond said that the Government would announce the detailed route for the London to Birmingham stretch in the autumn and consult the public in the New Year both on its overall high-speed rail strategy and on the proposed route from London to Birmingham. As many readers will know, this route cuts through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and will have a devastating impact on Wendover.
MPs and councillors meet Transport Secretary
The Transport Secretary attended a meeting about HS2 in Aylesbury on 30 September with MPs, councillors and other local representatives. Councillor Marion Clayton attended the meeting. She said: “This was a very frustrating meeting. Mr Hammond is adamant that the High Speed Rail network will go ahead as it is in the national interest. He seems to accept that the project is not “commercial”, and that it will make a loss, but that will be outweighed by the benefits it will bring to the economy of the midlands and the north. He also said that the spending review will focus on retaining those major projects which show the greatest benefit to the economy; although we have seen no evidence of those benefits, one of the projects to be retained is HS2. As a result of that meeting, Wendover HS2 is re-thinking its strategy, but please rest assured that we will continue to fight the proposals, along with many other groups in areas adversely affected by the proposals. Your support in that fight will be invaluable.”
Wendover HS2 is continuing its drive to raise money to support its work in opposing the HS2 proposals. The campaign needs to move into another phase, which could well include professional advice to support a potential legal challenge. Clearly this will be an expensive business and we need immediate funds for our continuing work, and also pledges of contributions towards potential professional fees. Please consider making a donation now, and/or a pledge of future funds should they be needed to support the campaign. To make an immediate donation, please either send a cheque to ‘Wendover HS2’ to: Carol Clark, Treasurer, Wendover HS2, 36 Ellesborough Road, Wendover, Bucks HP22 6EL, or, if you would like to make a direct bank payment, please email Carol on CCBaz4957@aol.com. Alternatively, you can donate online by credit or debit card at www.wendoverhs2.org. If you are able to pledge future funding, please contact Carol by email.
Business case report published
The Wendover HS2 business group has undertaken a detailed analysis of the HS2 Ltd business plan, which has been sent to David Lidington MP, the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for Transport and other senior ministers. The analysis raises critical questions about the viability of the proposed high speed rail link. Using statistics provided by HS2 Ltd, it indicates that the proposal simply will not achieve what HS2 Ltd says it will, and that the London-Birmingham leg alone could cost £34 billion (twice the Government’s estimate). The document and letter are available on the Wendover HS2 website: www.wendoverhs2.org.
Petition and market stall
Wendover HS2’s petition against HS2 now contains over 1000 signatures. We recently spent three weeks taking it door-to-door, but if we missed you and you would like to sign it, please contact Marion Clayton on 622862. The petition will also be available on the next Wendover HS2 market stall, on Manor Waste on 18 November. Once we feel we have as many signatures as possible, we will try to arrange to deliver the petition to Downing Street on your behalf.