Councils react to HS2 announcement
Archived press release
Date Published: 10/01/12
High speed train
Fight goes on as councils condemn decision to proceed with HS2.
Councils opposing HS2 say that although they have no objections to the principle of high speed rail, they will continue to fight the current flawed proposals, following news that the Government plans to press ahead with the £32 billion project. Leaders will be examining the decision and considering whether there are grounds for a legal challenge.
"This is an immensely bad decision for Britain," said Martin Tett, chairman of the 51m alliance of local councils challenging the scheme and Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council. "At a time of national austerity with rising unemployment and a massive deficit how can spending more than £32 billion on a rail line be justified? Virtually all objective analysts have condemned this project. The business case is fundamentally flawed, it doesn't deliver the extra capacity where and when it is needed on the main commuter routes and it fails to help regenerate manufacturing industry in this country."
Councillor John Cartwright, Leader of Aylesbury Vale District Council, said: "The much cheaper alternative of upgrading existing lines and investing now in local infrastructure projects across all regions seems to have been ignored. Improving the road and rail services that people actually use may be less prestigious but is far more effective in guaranteeing jobs and economic growth when we need it.
"The so-called 'mitigation measures' still leave an environmental horror story and are just an attempt to divide the opponents of HS2. They will not succeed - we remain united in our opposition.
"Importantly, this decision is not the end of the campaign to persuade the government to see sense. We are inspired by those who fought against previous government schemes, such as the Third Runway at Heathrow, to continue our campaign. Like them we will consider all our options and, I am confident that we will succeed."
For more information on the 51m alliance, visit the website 51m.co.uk
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