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Public Rejects a New High Speed Rail Line
as Best Method of Boosting the Economy

Stop H2S

Public Rejects a New High Speed Rail Line
In a survey carried out by Ipsos MORI, only 4% thought HS2 was the best way of boosting the economy,
just beating 'Don't Know'.

In a survey conducted by Ipsos MORI, the public has overwhelmingly rejected high speed rail as what the Government should be doing to boost the economy. Only 4% of the public rated HS2 as a priority, leaving the project stuck between ‘None of these’ (5%) and ‘Don’t know’ (3%).

Respondents were asked; “The Government is trying to boost the economy and is considering major infrastructure investment. Which one of these, if any, do you think is the best way of boosting the economy?”

The results showed that building more homes was the most popular choice with 40%, followed by improving existing road infrastructure (20%), and improving existing rail infrastructure (14%). Improving and extending high speed broadband got 8% and increasing airport capacity scored 5%.

Stop HS2 Campaign Coordinator Joe Rukin said;

“The results of this survey are no surprise to us. For three years, Governments have allowed themselves to be seduced by the idea of high-speed rail, as sold to them by lobbyists from vested interest groups. They have totally lost sight of what the public know is really needed to get Britain going again, which is not chucking billions into an unstrategic, unjustifiable, unenvironmental black hole vanity project which will only be any use to the richest in society. There is a massive opportunity cost in building HS2, that there will not be funding for more popular, more important projects as this survey has shown.”

“We’ve already seen with the West Coast franchise farce that the very figures the whole case for HS2 is based on can’t be trusted, and a couple of weeks ago the chair of HS1 said the UK doesn’t need HS2. When the person who is running HS1 can’t see the point of HS2, it really is well past time for the Government to think again. The whole problem with HS2 is it came from a starting point of ‘we need to do this’ without having any strategic thinking besides ‘it sounds like a good idea’ to arrive at the conclusion. As a result, all the arguments which are used to support the idea have had to be retrofitted after the decision to proceed, which is why none of them fit.”

Commenting on the survey’s findings, Hilary Wharf from HS2 Action Alliance who commissioned the survey, said;

“Costing a staggering £17 billion, Phase 1 of HS2 will support just 42,000 jobs and only 14,000 of these will be outside of the M25. So we are not surprised that the public agree with us that HS2 is not the answer to boosting the economy. It really is getting beyond a joke that the Government continues to spend millions of pounds a month pursuing a highly unpopular and utterly flawed project when for much less the capacity issues and economic regeneration could be more effectively addressed”

The full results of the survey are available on the Ipsos MORI website.

HS2 Action Alliance commissioned Ipsos MORI to include the question on a face to face CAPI (computer assisted personal interviewing) omnibus survey. Interviews were conducted with respondents in their homes.

1,442 face-to-face Interviews were carried out between 21st September and 8th October 2012. Quotas were set and the resultant data was weighted to ensure a representative sample. Respondents were asked: “The Government is trying to boost the economy and is considering major infrastructure investment. Which one of these, if any, do you think is the best way of boosting the economy?”

Infrastructure Project % Level of Support
Build more homes
Improve existing road infrastructure
Improve existing rail infrastructure
Improve and extend high speed broadband
Increase airport Capacity
Build a new high speed rail line
None of these
Don’t know

Cameron calls to cut Judicial Reviews
a fortnight before five on HS2.

Posted by Joe on November 20, 2012

Cameron calls to cut Judicial Reviews
This graph shows a) The number of Judicial Reviews in recent years
b) David Cameron doesn't have a clue what he is talking about.

In a speech to the CBI, Prime Minister David Cameron has called for cutting access to justice relating to planning, wanting to make it harder to apply for Judicial Reviews. The Prime Minister stated that there are around four times the number of reviews now, as there were ten years ago. In a fortnight (December 3rd) the hearing of five Judicial Reviews into HS2 will start place, just weeks after the threat of Judicial Review on the West Coast Mainline franchise saw the process collapse and the Government forced into a humiliating U-Turn.

Despite saying that the ‘growth industry’ in Judicial Reviews was holding back planning, the vast majority of the growth in Judicial Reviews is almost entirely to do with an increase in immigration and asylum cases. Once these are excluded, the underlying trend is flat. Additionally to this, if Mr Cameron wanted to ‘get more things built’, he would be increasing access to Judicial Review, as probably in part due to the prohibitive cost, the majority of planning related cases are in fact from developers taking planning authorities and inspectors to court, not from campaigners against development.

Stop HS2 Campaign Coordinator Joe Rukin said;

“Just weeks after the Government failed to get things right so spectacularly with the West Coast Mainline franchise, it’s is no real surprise that in true Scooby-Doo fashion they turn around and say ‘We’d have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for that pesky Judicial Review.’ We feel it is hardly a coincidence that the Government is now talking about reducing their exposure to the laws of the land just a fortnight before the first tranche of Judicial Reviews into their half-baked HS2 plans are heard.”

“The Government seem to be making out that they believe any of their infrastructure plans should be above the law and do not realise that it is essential in a democratic society to be able to hold the Government to account. The more worrying thing is that the Prime Minister just wanted to make a speech that sounded good without having a clue what he is talking about. He talks about a growth industry in Judicial Reviews without realising that this is due to cases on immigration and that the majority of planning cases are actually taken by developers.”

I pine for a more sensible approach to saving our forests

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