Transport Minister Theresa Villiers has again made clear the Government is committed to building HS2.
It must be a great disappointment for opponents who doubtless hoped to ruffle a few feathers during party conference season. However, all three major political parties are united behind HS2.
Speaking at Gatwick Airport, Ms Villiers said: “We continue to be very confident that HS2 is the right way forward in dealing with transport capacity restraints.
“We have looked at the numbers very carefully and this is the best way of dealing with the capacity crisis on inter-city routes. Almost every country in Europe has high-speed rail lines and it is an attractive alternative to domestic flights.
“Every single consultation response is being very carefully considered. Major changes to Labour’s original route have already been made. I firmly believe that the ultimate impact (on the environment) of the line is going to be only a fraction of what is feared.”
This afternoon (Tues) opponents joined MPs Andrea Leadsom and Chris White to hand in a petition against HS2 at 10 Downing Street.
In today’s BBC report (click here) on the petition handover Birmingham Chamber of Commerce talked about jobs and opportunities for the West Midlands, whereas Stop HS2 could only stick to their mantra of ‘fast trains for fat cats.’
They’re deliberately missing the point. What HS2 delivers is capacity – for all of us.
Without it, more and more of our local, regional and freight services will be squeezed out.
Without it, as passenger demand continues to soar, surely there will be no alternative but to drive. That isn’t good enough in this day and age and our roads will not cope. HS2 opponents have often made the environmental argument and road building does not sit well with this.
Our rail network was built by the Victorians. We need new infrastructure and can’t keep resorting to the ‘patch and mend’ Lord Adonis referred to.
Professor David Begg, director of the Campaign for High Speed Rail, wrote to MPs today to remind them why we need HS2. You can read this letter here.