Spin machine goes into overdrive over pointless HS2 project.
Using discredited arguments the Government has unveiled it's plans for the second phase of the highly controversial HS2 proposal.
The Government's rationale for the second phase of HS2 has flip-flopped again in the hope that no-one notices they are using arguments that H2 Ltd have already ditched.
Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2 said:
"The Government talks about jobs, and regenerating the north, but in reality, high speed rail projects elsewhere have sucked jobs to the capital cities, away from the regions. HS2 focuses on long distance journeys, when the main passenger growth is in regional and local areas.
"Stop HS2 is firmly of the opinion that the whole HS2 project is fundamentally flawed. It should be cancelled as soon as possible, so that we can concentrate on developing the transport infrastructure that will bring more benefits to more people than a fast train for fat cats."
"Again and again with HS2, we've heard talk of "connectivity", but what it really means is connectivity with London. HS2 is a London-centric proposal that seems focused on extending the London commuter belt beyond Birmingham, when we need to create an engine for growth in the North, providing access to jobs for people who want to live and work in the North.
"Proponents of HS2 don't seem to realise that people can already live anywhere in the UK and telecommute to anywhere else in the world, and before HS2 is due to open, this will be even easier. It's yet another example of outmoded thinking that ignores digital technologies, which will be the real wealth and job creator in the 21st century."
Joe Rukin, campaign manager for Stop Hs2 said
"There will not just be more upset because of HS2, but there will be abject misery. People find that their homes have been devalued and countryside woodland and wildlife havens are to be destroyed for no good reason other that lining the pockets of the construction industry. If the Government had come up with a plan which was needed or was in the national interests, there wouldn't be so much opposition, but what they will find is that masses more people will be saying Stop HS2 because there is no business case, no environmental case and no need whatsoever for this fast train for fat cats. "
Ahead of the government announcing more details on the HS2 project, Dr Richard Wellings, Head of Transport at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:
"The extension of High Speed 2 to the North of England is very bad news for taxpayers and the wider economy. The project's £34 billion-plus bill - over £1,000 per household - will destroy jobs and force businesses to close across the UK, including in the North. Many areas along the route may also be affected by planning blight.
"The government is deluded if it thinks HS2 will regenerate the North. The region's long-term economic problems will not be solved by faster rail links to London. Towns such as Doncaster already enjoy fast links, but remain among the poorest places in the country. Indeed, HS2 will be used as an excuse to waste billions more on flawed regeneration schemes in northern cities, at further expense to taxpayers.
"High Speed 2 is being driven forward by politics, not economics. It is a loss-making scheme with a very weak business case based on a series of flawed assumptions. If the government wishes to boost the economy through infrastructure investment, it should allow private investment in profitable projects such as Heathrow expansion and road schemes with very high rates of return."
Keri Brennan of Ruislip Against HS2 said, on the dropping of the Heathrow spur,
"Will people who support HS2 in the mistaken belief that HS2 will reduce domestic flights now realise HS2 is not about that. Nor is it about the environment, reducing carbon or true connectivity. Maybe it's about airport expansion after all.
"As for the Heathrow Link and for our community, it is still not certain if this is a permanent reprieve or a temporary one till 2015.
"Another major point of interest for Londoners today is the route through the city of Manchester is almost all in tunnel - meanwhile many Londoners still face HS2 ploughing through their gardens, schools, closing roads and so on, time for a fair deal for all!" Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2, added
Before the government spends £33 billion on a rail project, they need to make sure that the evidence is there to back it up. What the Department for Transport was forced to admit in the judicial reviews is that long distance peak hour trains from Euston are half full. The evidence that HS2 is needed is simply not there, yet the government is desparate to gamble £33 billion on a fast train for fat cats, when former Transport Minister, Philip Hammond told the Transport Select Committee that a factory worker from Manchester might never use HS2.
"The basic principles for the first phase of HS2 were wrong. Tweaks in the second phase do not change this and cannot make up for the environmental damage and destruction from HS2 between London and Birmingham."
"Stop HS2 will continue looking at the new proposals very closely over the next few days."
Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin added
"HS2 has been spun as being good for growth, but only last week 32 academics from the Transport Planning Society said that was wrong. The Department for Transport will say it will be good for jobs and the north-south divide, but HS2 doesn't create jobs, it simply moves them around and out of the handful created on Stage 1, 75% are set to be in London. All HS2 will do is suck more economic activity to London."
"HS2 is the wrong investment at the wrong time. The country is supposedly bust, we are seeing cuts in services all over the place, but the Government wants to spend money on a train line which will only benefit the richest in society and line the pockets of construction lobbyists with vested interests. There are more holes in HS2 than a Swiss cheese, which is why the Government faced five legal challenges. To announce the route for Stage 2 before the rulings on those judicial reviews is simply irresponsible."