History of our HS2 involvement
On 10 January 2012 the Government announced its decision to proceed with HS2 in spite of the overwhelming negative response from the consultation process and critical analysis by major UK bodies.
Remember this is not a done deal! The previous government announced a third runway at Heathrow but this was defeated by the residents of London. In order to proceed building the line the Government needs to pass a hybrid bill. This has been presented to Parliament – the second reading is scheduled to take place March/April 2014 but it is not known whether the Bill will be passed before the next General Elction.
The HS2 construction and operational plans detailed in the HS2 Environmental Statement dated 27 November 2013 will devastate Ickenham.
The National Audit Office has published its first report on HS2, meaning the project has at last been subject to detailed independent scrutiny. The conclusions are devastating for those who believe HS2 is a project in the national interest.
Key findings include:
– there is a £3.3 billion spending gap between the cost of constructing Phase 1 of HS2 and the Department of Transport’s available budget.
– it is not clear how there is a relationship between reducing journey times and rebalancing the UK economy.
– the official cost benefit ratio calculated for Phase 1 has twice contained errors.
The report, over 56 pages, systematically and methodically undermines the core justifications for HS2. What’s more, the Government can’t dismiss the conclusions of an independent and respected body charged with ensuring the money you and everyone else in this country pay in tax is spent wisely. For more details please go to the HS2 Action Alliance website
The HS2 lobby wants you to believe that we are somehow behind Europe and HS2 will enable us to ‘catch up’. Europe (and other countries) however they are finding that HS technology is too expensive to build and run and is not achieving the forecasts originally claimed.
Our own HS1 North Kent line is running 1/3rd of forecast and trains have had to be mothballed.
Poland, Norway and Portugal have all shelved HS projects. The Dutch HS line from Amsterdam to Breda is almost bankrupt after less than two years of operation.
The Spanish have axed the recently opened Toledo – Cuenca – Albercete HS line because of lack of passengers
In California costs have escalated to 98 billion USD and the line, if completed, will not be available before 2033. Other US states have abandoned HS plans because of the public subsidies required.
See further below for a link to a report from HS2 Action Alliance on international experiences of HS technology.
34 leading transport academics have sent an open letter to the Secretary of State for Transport advising that the DfT needs to re assess its transport strategies – traffic growth is levelling off and UK intercity connection is already good making further employment gains difficult to realise.
London’s transport system would not be able to cope with extra traffic from the planned high-speed rail link with the north if the government fails to back a new Crossrail line for the capital, the head of London Underground has warned.
Mike Brown, managing director of the Tube, said that without extra rail capacity within the capital, the terminus for the so-called High Speed 2 line at London’s Euston station would “fall apart” because of the volume of passengers.
The Association has presented its petition to local MP Nick Hurd
HS2 figures “shocking, biased and bonkers”, says Public Accounts Committee chair
Red-Amber Faces for HS2’s rating at the Department of Transport
John Randall’s reaction to latest news on the Benefits to Costs ratio 18 April 2012
What are the experiences of HS technology in other parts of the world?
‘HS2 too fast to be safe and reliable’ 8 february 2012
Councils launch HS2 Challenge 7 February 2012
Map showing the route through Ickenham and Ruislip
Map showing the route south of Harefield