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Chiltern Society HS2 newsletter

July 2011 (Addendum)

This newsletter is a follow-up to the previous July Newsletter, which was sent as a final reminder to complete the Consultation Response.

With the end of the Consultation, we need to concentrate on lobbying MPs away from the line, making them aware of the weakness of the economic and business cases, the risks to National Parks and AONBs, the length of time it will take before any capacity is added.

Please talk to family and friends away from the line, and persuade them to talk to their MPs. It is essential we raise awareness before Mr Hammond is due to make his decision on whether this route will be persued.

 

Consultation

This finished on Friday 29th July. Below are links to responses from the Society and various other bodies.

Philip Hammond has said that the approximately 40,000 responses showed a low level of interest in HS2. However if one takes into account the membership of bodies such as the National Trust, CPRE, RSPB, etc., the response is in the millions.

The Society's response

National Trust (This links opens a PDF in an additional window) While it opposes the route across the Chilterns, the NT concentrates on mitigation efforts for Hartwell house.

51m (This links opens a PDF in an additional window) The group of 15 councils have submitted a well researched and substantial response, identifying some serious defects in the Consultation Process

Environment Agency (This links opens a PDF in an additional window) As a Government agency, this is couched in fairly gentle terms, but there is an underlying level of criticism, which can be summed up as 'there is a lot of work to do in the next phase'

 

Transport Select Committee

More oral evidence has been taken by the TSC. This link takes you to that from the anti-HS2 campaigners, including Martin Tett and Chris Stokes on behalf of 51m. Prof John Tomaney's evidence highlights the lack of evidence to support HS2 Ltd's claims on economic regeneration.

The Committee seems to have been impressed by a trip around Europe seeing HSR systems. Further oral evidence will be taken on 6 September 2011. Contributors include CPRE, The Chiltern Conservation Board, National Trust, the full list is available on this link under 'What's on' (close to the bottom of the page which will open when this link is followed).

I understand that the Committee is due to report at the end of October, giving Mr Hammond time to absorb their comments into the decision as to whether to confirm the current proposed route.


Yes Campaign leader exposed in Scotland

The Scotsman – 22 July 2011
We can't let the HS2 train leave the station or do you Begg to differ? This article by Brian Monteith highlights the pedigree of David Begg, who leads the Yes to HS2 campaign, and was responsible for the disastrous tram system in Edinburgh.

 

Mayor of London and London Assembly slam HS2

There have been a number of reports on Boris Johnson's pronouncements on HS2. I include a sample of them here.

Reading between the lines it is a bid to get funding for another tube line. If necessary, this would add an estimated £8bn to £9bn to the overall cost.

Daily Telegraph – 2 Jul 2011
Boris Johnson slams perverse £34bn investment.

The Guardian – 29 July 2011
Boris and David at daggers drawn

Letter to The Guardian – 31 July 2011
Deputy Chair of TfL points out that Boris is not against HSR, but trying to make it work.

London Assembly Transport Committee
Response to Consultation
LA says that more information is needed on the business case. In particular how it fits into a National Transportation Infrastructure Plan. States that a further tube line will be needed to deal with the projected passengers arriving at Euston

Employing Consultants
This article in The Independent indicates that the Government is looking for consultants now. One can be forgiven for concluding that the government intends to go ahead with HS2 despite the fact that the Consultation had not been completed.

And a letter from Hammond (opens a PDF in an additional window) setting this out, but qualified with 'if the decision is to go ahead' then we need to be in a position to move ahead quickly.

 

Bullet Train Crash in China

There has been a major crash on China's HS Railway, with more than 30 dead and nearly 200 injured.

One can only feel sorrow for the loss of life. The tragedy arose in a thunderstorm when one train lost both power and communications. There is a lot of talk about corruption and sub-standard work.

In the past I have reported that Mr Hammond wants to do HSR the way the Chinese do. Obviously not like this, but!!
AOL News' report on the accident
BBC News' report on the accident

 

Professional Institutes for and against HS2

The Institute of Engineering & Technology and the Royal Academy of Engineering have submitted a joint response to the Consultation.

In this document (opens a PDF in an additional window) they question many aspects of the proposal, particularly the assumptions on CO2 reduction.

Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) supports HS2
It will hardly come as a surprise that ICE's response, as reported in The Independent, has come out in support of HS2. They can see a lot of engineering work in the future.

What is surprising is that it uses 'could' instead of 'would' in its' response to the consultation.

Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)
The IEA has come out with a scathing attack on the Economic Case for HS2 describing it as the Government's next Millenium Dome.
This link is to a BBC News report.
This takes you a page where you can download the IEA's report.

Miscellaneous Articles

Daily Telegraph – 30 July 2011
Full scale of opposition to £34 billion High Speed 2 rail link revealed. This article sets out Governmental bodies criticising HS2, including Natural England and the Environment Agency, English Heritage and the Forestry Commission.

Daily Telegraph – 31 July 2011
HS2? Just give us a decent train service.
In this report, Andrew Gilligan sets out the case for investing in local transport rather than HS2, as passengers would prefer to see upgrades now and not in the distant future.

Bucks Herald – 31 July 2011
Build HS2 station at Aylesbury. In this article, the Motocycle Riders Association call for 4 tracks instead of 2 so that trains can stop at Aylesbury, Buckingham and Kenilworth. Just imagine what that would do for the spoil calculations.

Uxbridge Gazette – 25 July 2011
Local MPs in Hillingdon John Randall and Nick Hurd, both in the Government, condemn HS2 in this report.

Conservativehomeblog
A thoughtful piece from Mark Field MP for Cities of London & Westminster, which shows that at least some MPs think for themselves.

Daily Telegraph – 24 July 2011
Forestry Commission warn of loss of ancient woodland. This article points out that in its submission to the Consultation, The Forestry Commission has expressed concerns over the loss of ancient woodland. This is their submission (a PDF which will open in an additional window), which unsurprisingly for a government agency is trying to be helpful to HS2 Ltd.

National Travel Survey 2010
This was published recently. Overall distance traveled and trips are down. Surface rail (which includes commuters on National Rail) shows a lengthening of average journeys. This may be caused by fewer commuters who tend to have shorter journeys.

 

Chequers Walk

The walk finished on 29 July 2011.

A daily walk was achieved throughout the Consultation thanks to the dedication of a group of walkers lead by Jim Rodda. A dozen of us took part on the last day, and enjoyed lunch at the Russell Arms. I would like to express my thanks to all who took part. Daily blogs were registered on our Facebook page together with a number of photographs.

 

Next newsletter

We’ll be bringing you another newsletter next month. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions please . If I can’t help, I’ll hopefully know someone who can.

Peter Brown.