Rob Butler MP rails against HS2 in a packed parliamentary debate
Aylesbury MP Rob Butler this evening condemned HS2 as a “white elephant” and called for the project to be scrapped during a debate in Parliament. It was triggered by a petition signed by more than 155,000 people demanding the cancellation of the controversial railway. The Aylesbury constituency had the second highest number of signatories, with 2999 residents expressing their outrage.
During the Westminster Hall debate, Rob said:
“I completely share the views of the vast majority of residents across the Aylesbury constituency that HS2 should be scrapped; as I stated from the very beginning of my election campaign, I do not believe we need this railway. It makes no sense economically, with a weak business case and spiralling construction costs. It makes no sense environmentally, with more than a hundred ancient woodlands being destroyed for a line that will never be carbon neutral over the course of its 120 year lifespan. I remain absolutely convinced that the scheme will do enormous damage to our area with zero benefit to the people of Aylesbury and the nearby villages.”
Rob went on to explain the consequences for local villages and Aylesbury itself of construction of the railway. He drew particular attention to the impact on Stoke Mandeville, Fairford Leys and Wendover.
“There are so many things the HS2 budget could be better spent on.
“I have three suggestions: local train lines, both across the north of England and indeed in my own constituency – notably the Aylesbury link of East-West Rail, which has a better business case than HS2, would dramatically cut traffic congestion and reduce environmental harm, but is still waiting for funding approval. Or we could use the money for high-speed broadband, which would enable the new ways of working that are now becoming embedded following the pandemic: parts of my constituency still struggle to get Wi-Fi despite being less than 50 miles from central London. Or indeed we could just save some of the huge bill, given the hundreds of billions of pounds we have had to borrow in the past 18 months.
“Any of those options would be much better for my constituency and for the country than this painful, lumbering white elephant project.”
Following the debate, Rob said:
“Parliament needed to be reminded of the absolute opposition of Aylesbury constituents to this ridiculous railway, and I am glad I had the opportunity to hammer home the message of the harm it is causing. The sheer number of people signing the petition demonstrates that HS2 is unwanted and unnecessary. I hope the government has heard the powerful arguments made in this debate and will put HS2 out of its misery.”