HS2 consensus to be challenged in the House of Commons

Wednesday, 24th January 2018

Despite what Lichfield MP, Michael Fabricant refers to as “a cosy consensus between the main political parties”, MPs will discuss an amendment to the Bill in the House of Commons.

Tabled by Michael Fabricant, the discussion will take place on Tuesday 30th January when the House will vote for the first time on the second phase of HS2:  the route from Lichfield to Crewe.

Michael told Tamworth Informed:  “It is remarkable that HS2 is so disconnected from the rest of the transport network and is far from a seamless design.  So, take a journey from Lichfield to Paris for example.

“The original plan for the high speed train was that you’d take the train to Birmingham New Street, hop on HS2 with all your luggage and then arrive in Paris.

“Instead, with HS2 you get to Birmingham New Street, then you walk with all your bags to Curzon Street, get HS2, arrive at Euston, then cross London with your luggage to St Pancras station and finally catch an HS1 Eurostar train to Paris.

“This is no way to design a railway.

“And the route does not use existing transport corridors like the M40 to minimise environmental damage, but instead crashes through virgin countryside destroying ancient woodland and ruining lives.  Moreover, it has had to be buried in the Chiltern Hills costing an additional £10 billion of taxpayers’ money.

“There are better and cheaper ways of relieving the congestion on the West Coast Mainline south of Birmingham by either enhancing existing lines or by constructing an integrated and environmentally safe high speed line.  HS2 is neither.”

The amendment to the 2nd Reading of the Bill, which has now been signed by other MPs, reads:-

That this House, while recognising the increasing need for additional north-south rail line capacity to relieve congestion on the West Coast Main Line south of the Midlands and to improve connectivity between major cities and with London, declines to give the High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill a Second Reading because

(1) there are better ways to address any rail capacity issues north of the Midlands,

(2) the line set out in the Bill is routed through unspoiled countryside unnecessarily damaging the environment including wildlife habitats, ancient woodlands and waterways, fails to connect via HS2 Phase 1 with HS1, the Channel Tunnel and the European continent, fails to connect directly through HS2 Phase 1 with potential airport hubs for London and the south-east of England, and fails to connect directly to existing major mainline stations and the existing rail network,

(3) the Bill provides inadequate compensation to those blighted by the route and those whose property is subject to compulsory purchase orders,

(4) the Bill fails to provide for sufficient public transport to disperse HS2 passengers disembarking at London Euston, and

(5) the Bill does not implement a more environmentally sympathetic, better integrated, and more cost-effective route, such as the route originally proposed by Arup which would have used existing transport corridors minimising environmental damage and reducing costs by around £10 billion, and which would have connected directly with HS1 and the continent, London Heathrow Airport, Birmingham International Airport, and major conurbations.

the Amendment as it appears in the House of Commons Order Paper

the Amendment as it appears in the House of Commons Order Paper