HS2 should be buried regardless of cost or time says Cheryl Gillan

Get Bucks

15:09, 15 JULY 2015
MP insists on tunnel despite being told it would be too expensive

High Speed Rail Line planned to travel between Birmingham and Manchester / Leeds.
CHERYL Gillan has continued to urge the government to bury HS2 under the Chilterns, despite being told that the move would be too expensive.

Mrs Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham, has received a letter from David Higgins, chairman of HS2 Ltd, in which he states that the idea
of tunnelling the controversial rail line under the entirety of the Chilterns Area of Natural Beauty would not be possible due to the costs and time involved.

However, Mrs Gillan does not accept this and says that the company should accept that the plans would go a long way to alleviating some of the environmental concerns caused by the rail line.

The letter from Mr Higgins to Mrs Gillan says: “We have never disputed that it is possible to tunnel under the whole of the Area Of Natural Beauty (AONB),” but adds: “we are of the view that the additional £349m required to build it would be justified.”

Campaigners and representatives from local authorities in Bucks believe that a Chilterns Long Tunnel would lessen the damage caused by the project and would mean that its impact would be mitigated.

It has drawn up plans for how the tunnel would work and how it would link up to the rest of the line, and has been backed by Bucks MPs Dominic Grieve and David Lidington, as well as Mrs Gillan.

Mrs Gillan said: “The tunnel should be favoured regardless of any time delay or cost, because it is the only way to protect the environment and the AONB, which the new government has said they will protect.

“Otherwise, it blows a hole in the government’s environmental plans and protections.

“Also, HS2 Ltd has always known the legislative procedures involved with a tunnel proposal, with the necessary additional environmental statement and additional provision, so it is frustrating that this excuse is being used now, when a proposal could have been settled far earlier in the process.”





































Letter from JeremyPaxman

Folly of a £50bn HS2 project must hit the buffers
The high speed railway scheme is a grotesque waste of money you might think that the biggest infrastructure project in modern Britain would have merited a few minutes discussion in an election campaign. Dream on. All three of the main parties decided that the planned HS2 high speed railway line from London to Birmingham, and then — if things go to plan — on to Manchester and Leeds by about 2033 was A Good Thing. Despite living in an age of austerity, they were as one in believing it a brilliant way to blow a projected £50bn of public money. It was left to the UK Independence party and the Greens (who generally love railways) to point out that HS2 is a grotesque waste of taxpayers’ money.
It will not be £50bn of course, because that is just the estimate, and cost controls on public spending projects such as this are laughable.
Overlook the fact that the Welsh Assembly building came in 300 per cent above budget and the Scottish parliament almost ten times more expensive than the original estimate. The first high speed rail link, from London to the Kent coast, cost one third more than initially projected cost, the channel tunnel almost twice as much as expected, and for heaven’s sake don’t mention the ill fated National Health Service IT project.
But let us play Fantasy Railways and assume for a moment that cost is no object. At the end of years of digging and disruption we shall have a railway service that enables us to get from London to Birmingham 30odd minutes quicker. This will, apparently, make the country much more efficient.
Enough has already been said about the charmingly unworldly idea in the minds of those at the top of the Department for Transport: that, since no one can do any work on trains, they have to be whizzed through the countryside as fast as science will allow, the sooner to sit down on a different seat to the one they occupied in transit. Perhaps the new line will, as has been predicted, turn Birmingham into a suburb of the capital, though presumably that will only be for those wealthy enough to afford tickets.
The point that seems not to have been much recognised by huge numbers of the poor saps who will have to pay for this project is that at the end of their journey north, the happy business folk will not be alighting in the centre of Birmingham, at New Street station, but will have to take a 10minute walk to get there from the planned HS2 terminus.It is unarguable that Britain has suffered a terrible sedimentation of power and wealth, to the benefit of London and the detriment of points north. Chancellor George Osborne (a Cheshire MP) repeatedly protests his faith in a “northern powerhouse” stretching across the Pennines. Yet to get from Leeds to Manchester on HS2 you would have to travel south to Birmingham and then north again on the other side of the country.
How on earth are we even contemplating this scheme? Perhaps now it has untrammelled power the Conservative party will jettison this Labour party project, which was anyway based on not much more than back of an envelope calculations.
The story goes that Mr Osborne was seized with enthusiasm for the idea when he went to China and travelled on a highspeed train.
His thought — “Why haven’t we got one of these?” — crossed my own mind briefly when I travelled on a very fast train from Beijing to Tianjin. Mercifully for everyone, I am not the chancellor of the exchequer. We must be thankful that Mr Osborne did not go to Venice and ride in a gondola.
There are, incidentally, one or two minor differences between China and England, such as landmass, rate of economic growth and, critically, a gerontocracy running things which does not need to worry about people’s rights.
Britain, by contrast, is notorious for its shuddering transport policy. When was the last time you heard an MP say, “I’m begging the prime minister to let me go to the Department for Transport and stay there forever, so we can get this country moving properly”? Building a decent infrastructure is serious, unglamorous work with little political dividend, so our system is hopeless at longterm planning. David Cameron, the prime minister, has reappointed Patrick McLoughlin as transport minister to see through this hugely costly project that has been largely overlooked in the public scrap between Heathrow and Gatwick over where London’s next runway will be built (if it is built at all).
For most of the postwar years, the Department (or Ministry) for (or of) Transport — changing nameplates is a lot easier than building railways — was a department that ministers travelled through on their way somewhere else. Between 1947 and the 2015 election there were by my count 38 different politicians at its head — an average stay of less than two years. Since major transport projects take well over a decade to plan and implement, it is indeed no way to run a railroad.
Instead, we have a perpetual tugging of the forelock to countries such as France, where the state can merely decree that something must happen for dissent to be ignored. It is like admiring 1930s Germany for expanding the autobahn network.
On the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta it would be a great deal more dignified to acknowledge the glories of a system that requires government to take account of its citizens’ back gardens. The need for endless planning hoopla is something we should celebrate, not denigrate.But an obsession with leaving a 21st century “legacy” by embracing 19th century technology will not be balked. The line offers the promise of overcoming the emptiness of most human achievement.
Politicians are correct in assuming that future generations will not remember a single line of their speeches. But unless someone comes to their senses soon, future generations will definitely be able to look at great tracts of concrete laid across the countryside to enable a slightly quicker journey through our overcrowded island. More than likely, they will still be paying for it.May 15th, 2015 Jeremy Paxman


Andrea Leadsom, MP for South Northamtonshire has been appointed a minister in the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Andrea organised the very first specifically anti-HS2 meeting in March 2010.

In her new role, there are two questions that Andrea needs to ask about HS2.

Firstly, Andrea needs to ask HS2 Ltd how much electricity HS2 will need.

There is already a looming energy gap, with a number of electricity generating stations due to closebefore HS2 is built. There are questions in the electricity industry as to what will replace them. HS2 is currently estimated as needing the equivalent output of one or two power stations, which could add£16 billion to the cost of HS2.

Secondly, Andrea needs to find out what conversations HS2 and National Grid have had about this.

We’ve been told that HS2 are not communicating with National Grid. This is entirely in line with their normal modus operandi: for example see Michele Dix, at the Lords Economic Affairs Committee on HS2


Northwich Guardian

Ros Todhunter has raised concerns over proposed route

Ros Todhunter has raised concerns over proposed route

First published Saturday 1 November 2014 in News

GEOLOGIST Ros Todhunter says the proposed HS2 rail link “is on shaky ground” as it passes through the area.

Ros, who lives in Lostock Green, is a member of Mid Cheshire Against HS2.

She is concerned as a geologist over the suitability and safety of siting a rail line, which she said tolerated ground movements of less than five millimetres, through an area of known salt extraction and subsidence.

Ros said: “For centuries the ground surface has been on the move, and still is, due to natural and industry-generated salt solution.”

Ben Ruse, HS2 Ltd lead spokesperson said: “Improving rail connections across the north will help to deliver significant benefits for the region.

“There are of course engineering challenges in delivering the largest infrastructure project in Europe, but we will have the best people to help us achieve our aim of building a railway network that is fit for the 21st century.

“We very much value local knowledge, and our engineers have met with Ros Todhunter to talk through the geology in the area.

“We will continue with that process as we develop the detailed design of the route.”

Ros added: “In Wimboldsley, an area of former wild brine pumping between Winsford and Middlewich, the proposed HS2 route has been drawn down the centre of one of many linear hollows of up to two metres deep which are still subsiding.”

She added that the proposed route had been drawn straight through an area vital to the nation’s economy.

“Coming out of the tunnel under Crewe the planned route is directly above the active salt mine, which is at shallow depths between Winsford and Middlewich,” she said.

“The route narrowly skirts the existing Storngy Natural Gas Storage and the proposed Keuper Gas Storage Project between Whatcroft and Byley, and then goes straight across the area of King Street Energy’s proposed development of strategic natural gas storage, east of King Street, between Morrisons and Penny’s Lane, Lach Dennis.

“The route then heads over the working Holford Brine field, where salt is dissolved and pumped out of brine wells that occur every 500 metres between Lach Dennis and Lostock Green and up to the A556 at the Lostock Triangle.

“In the same area the proposed route crosses an intricate network of interconnecting pipework of pressurised brine, fresh water and air which transport the brine as feedstock for the chemical industries of Northwich, Winnington, Runcorn, Widnes and beyond.”































Express and Star

Taxpayers will have to pick up the tab to pay for huge regeneration schemes based on HS2, campaigners today claimed.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin wants local plans set up by councils and business leaders to boost economies off the back of new HS2 stations.

But campaigners against the £50 billion scheme today said the government has failed to allocate any new funding to local authorities for this.

They argue that local resources from existing budgets will be expected to be used.

It comes after Birmingham City Council revealed it had set up a new company to create a new vision for the area of the city near the new Curzon Street station worth £1.3 billion.

Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2 said: “We’ve said all along that just building a new railway won’t work. What’s now clear is that the government agree that as well. If each of the cities that are getting HS2 stations was asked whether the best use in their area for billions from central government was another fast railway to London, the chances are they would have had better ideas. Instead local areas are being asked to find funding to develop plans that fit in with the government’s £50 billion vanity project.”

Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin added: “The Government is telling cities which will get HS2 stations, to ‘go forth and regenerate’, seeming to think that having a plan for regeneration is all they need, and that the money to deliver their plans will somehow magically appear. We have always said, if you want to regenerate the North and the Midlands, forget building HS2, spending money regenerating the North and the Midlands, because if you spend £50bn on a faster train line to London, that money won’t be there.”

HS2 Chairman, David Higgins said: “The lasting impact of HS2 will, in the end, be determined by how successfully local authorities and regions use it as a catalyst to transform and develop not just their economies, but also the look and feel of the areas it touches.

“The new Birmingham Curzon Urban Regeneration Company will, therefore, be hugely important both for Birmingham and the rest of the West Midlands, and also as an example to the rest of the cities along the route. I acknowledge and applaud the work that has gone on to get this far and wish it every success in the future.”

A new Birmingham-based construction HQ will house up to 1,500 HS2 Ltd employees with the first part expected to open from 2015.




























8:30am Saturday 19th July 2014 in News By Andy Carswell, Reporter Bucks Free Press

Bucks Free Press: Lords announce fresh HS2 inquiryLords announce fresh HS2 inquiry

THE economic case for HS2 is to be re-examined by members of the House of Lords.

The House’s Economic Affairs Committee has announced it will hold an inquiry into the project’s plans and could hold hearings as early as October.

Committee chairman Lord Hollick: “HS2 is likely to represent one of the biggest infrastructure investment programmes in the UK for decades. With over £50 billion of public money estimated to be spent it is vital that the public has confidence the project will produce real economic benefits.

“Our inquiry will attempt to get to the bottom of what the real economic impact of HS2 will be, who will benefit and who might lose out. We will find out whether the government has taken full account of all the economic considerations in setting out the case for HS2 and what the impact will be in different parts of the UK.

“Our inquiry and the report that we produce will be based on the evidence we receive. While we are not the right avenue for individuals who wish to comment on the impact of the proposed route on their property – that role will fall to the Hybrid Bill Committees of both Houses of Parliament – we are very interested to hear from anyone who can comment on the economic case for HS2 more broadly, We would invite written evidence to be sent to us by September 15.”




















By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: June 27, 2014

  • PROTEST…Pictured handing over the petition to Dean Sargeant (third from left) are, from left, Mike Bird, Bob Gasch, Sue Gasch, Paul Herbert, Madeline Murphy and Rosemary Herbert.
  • PROTEST…Pictured handing over the petition to Dean Sargeant (third from left) are, from left, Mike Bird, Bob Gasch, Sue Gasch, Paul Herbert, Madeline Murphy and Rosemary Herbert.

Local action group Marston Against HS2 is calling on the county council to join 51M – a group of 19 local authorities which have joined together in a national campaign to actively challenge the HS2 project. Members of the Marston community, led by Bob Gasch, met Dean Sargeant, the county’s HS2 project officer, to hand over the petition.

Marston campaigners are working with national campaign groups Stop HS2 and HS2 Action Alliance to fight the rail scheme, which they say will ruin large areas of countryside and be a multi-billion pound burden for taxpayers..

Pictured handing over the petition to Dean Sargeant (third from left) are, from left, Mike Bird, Bob Gasch, Sue Gasch, Paul Herbert, Madeline Murphy and Rosemary Herbert.

Read more at http://www.staffordshirenewsletter.co.uk/Staffordshire-Hs2-protesters-hand-petition/story-21293512-detail/story.html#2orHzS6RvWP9fzMR.99