Posted 7th October 2010 | 15 Comments

Anti-HS2 campaigners in Midlands appeal for funds

ANTI-HS2 campaigners in Warwickshire have launched an appeal for donations, to fund a judicial review of the scheme.

The ‘Stop HS2’ movement is asking everyone who opposes the High Speed rail plans to give it £5.

The campaigners maintain that the business plan prepared by the government company HS2 Ltd is flawed, and that the benefits of the route, which would connect London with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, have been overstated.

They will argue that the scheme constitutes a breach of human rights legislation, competition law and also procurement rules, although no contracts to build the line are expected to be placed for several years yet.

Joe Rukin, who chairs the Kenilworth Action Group, told the Coventry Telegraph that funding was now necessary to take their campaign further.

He said: “At the moment we are just looking at which is the best line of attack. There are lots of holes in this plan -- holes big enough to drive a High Speed train through.”

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Robin, Warwickshire, England

    Who wants to fund a load of whinging people who only care about themselves, rather than the future outlook of our country ?

    Lets spend a fraction of the HS2 total on the rest of the rail network to improve services in the next two years, NOT in 15 years time.

  • Sean Dillion, Oxford

    A lot of these people are very short sighted,as they used to have a major main line running through this part of the country in the past the Great Central Main line.So all that is happening is that some of this old track bed is being used putting the railway back again.

  • Peter Hooper, Windsor., UK

    Clearly there are strong views about the development of HSR in this country; however, there are other points of view that readers may care to consider.

    The article was actually about Joe Rukin, the StopHS2 campaign and their attempt to raise funds for a judicial review of the HS2 proposals - which are not due to go to public consultation until early next year.

    I think it worth remembering that Joe Rukin's earlier attempt to StopHS2 by means of a public petition intended to garner support from opponents of the proposals, has hardly been a great success.

    I say this not out of malice, but simply because in the 4 months that have passed since the StopHS2 GoPetition was launched on 22nd June, only 8,899 people have signed up.

    Meanwhile after a slow start, HS1 is now transporting about 10 million Eurostar passengers/year, while Eurotunnel carries 2 million cars and more than 1 million lorries.

    Furthermore, new services by Eurostar and Deutsche Bahn via the Chunnel to/from the near continent are expected over the next few years; with Amsterdam, Cologne, Frankfurt etc. joining the London / Paris / Brussels routes.

    For my own part, I would be quite happy if HS1 was just extended “to or near Heathrow” in order for HSR services to wipe out Heathrow's existing 100,000 near continent flights to these destinations.

    My preferred site for a West of London HSR station is the Arup proposal for a GWR/M25/Heathrow hub.

    As for HS2 I just see this as an infrastructure project “in the national interest”, but if people / industry in the Midlands and North do not want it – then fine by me.

    But I would repeat that I am not of the opinion that small self interested groups of Chiltern Hillbillies, NIMBYs and Luddites - should dictate central government policy.

  • Sarah, Oxfordshire, UK

    It so disappointing to see the level of debate conducted in the comment columns and in the press generally on such an important matter. I don\'t live within half a mile of the proposed route and I certainly do care about the future outlook of the country my children are growing up in. There are many many more worrying things about our national future than relieving traffic jams (which HS2 won\'t do any more than it does in Europe). There are certainly no Swampy-like activists at any of the public meetings I\'ve been to. I have seen town halls full of ordinary people - worried farmers whose land will be bisected by the line and their productive land reduced without compensation; elderly couples who had expected to finish their lives in peaceful retirement without high speed trains screaming past; families whose kids won\'t play in the garden any more when the trains come; hard-working people who\'ve saved to pay off the mortgage only to find their house will be nearly impossible to sell or their equity will be gone just when they need it for retirement. Just regular people who are worried that their quality of life and their homes will be ruined and that they won\'t be compensated for the losses they will have to bear to benefit long distance inter-city commuters and politicians travelling between London and their northern constituencies. Even if we have so little compassion as to insult and ignore those who have most to lose from HS2, since when do we as a nation swallow without challenge or question everything the government tells us? Are we the same country that raged against the expenses scandal and the corruption of the last government and the banks we bailed out, only to roll over and assume the case for HS2 is somehow not subject to the self-interest of the quangos and businesses that are profiting now and will receive the billions that we have to pay for this? Where did all this blind trust suddenly come from? If we could all engage our brains for a moment and study the subject properly we might start to see that the case for HS2 is not all that the politicians and pro-HS2 activists would have us think. And PLEASE don\'t even think for a moment that this is a green project - not even the DfT or HS2 Ltd are able to make a case that it will do anything other than hugely increase our carbon emissions, except by ignoring the carbon cost of building the railways from their calculations so that it becomes \"broadly neutral\". The project depends on more people travelling (which is not green), further distances (not green) at higher speeds (very definitely not green) in trains running on ungreen coal-powered electricty (unless of course they build some nuclear power stations very quickly - perhaps Windsor would be a good spot for one?) over hundreds of miles of newly laid concrete tracks (very definitely not green). Even the offset from the supposed reduction in car journeys doesn\'t come close to neutralising these. We do need a balanced assessment of the case for and against HS2 and it looks to me as those worried farmers and pensioners and hardworking families who have most to lose are the only ones currently attempting to ask searching questions on the matter - and why shouldn\'t they?

  • Peter Hooper, Windsor., UK

    Antony form Wendover,

    There are a number of well know definitions of "the National Interest", however I think one of the best is :-

    The national interest, often referred to by the French expression raison d'État ("reason of the State"), is a country's goals and ambitions whether economic, military, or cultural.

    Furthermore the National Interest is best represented by our MPs in parliament; and let's not forget they were last elected in May this year (just 5 months ago) with all three main parties including manefesto committments to build HS2.

    Between now and 2015 when building may commence, there are many oportunities for objectors to put their points forward. This will include next years promised consultation, the passage of a hybrid bill through parliament, and another general election in 2015 bofore building commences.

  • Sarah Matheson, Wendover, Bucks

    I will be donating £500 to your cause and if I had more I'd give you that too.

    For the people that turn this argument into personal attacks and abuse "whingeing nimbys" I should say you would be more respected if you showed a bit more compassion to the thousands of hard working families all along the route who will lose their livelihoods and be deafened by 95 decibels of train thundering past. Don't we count as part of the nation then?

    You would also be more respected if you argued on the basis of facts and really looked at the whether their is a genuine business case for this. Even HS2 admit that in section 4.2.20 and I quote HS2 " “.wider economic impacts are likely to be a relatively small part of the business case for HS2 at a national level.” and again in section 4.2.19 “ The impact on national productivity is.. likely to be limited.".

    I hope also that you will take the time to really read the research that the those against HS2 are starting to provide.

    HS2 has not been properly thought out and examined in terms of the wider national consequences. When so many people's livelihoods are at stake - surely it is only fair to listen to those most affected and really question whether this is what we trully want as a nation and not because Government wants a shiny new train set to look good against its European counterparts.

  • Antony, Wendover, UK

    The Government says that HS2 is "in the national interest" yet this is never defined. Detailed research into HS2 Ltd's figures shows that the benefits (mainly less overcrowding - and how do you evaluate that?) are exaggerated and the costs seriously underestimated. Do you think that spending £35bn for no real benefit is "in the public interest"?

  • Peter Hooper, Windsor., UK

    Bernie from Banbury,

    I'm not besotted by shiny new trainsets but over many years, all over the UK, I have sat in motorway and other traffic jams, surrounded by the fumes of cars and lorries.

    Also I have been on (Virgin) CrossCountry trains between Birmingham and Reading, where the only seating available has been on the floor!

    But I have also seen the future, in the form of Eurostar and Eurotunnel trains, carrying cars, lorries and passengers in comfort and at speed, to and from the continent.

    Yes, by all means objectors must have a fair say; but the time for that is when the government publishes its proposals and holds a fair public consultation; this is expected early next year ie about 3 months time.

    But what is apparent to me and others, is that objectors in the form of Chiltern Hillbillies, NIMBY's and Luddites have interest neither in a fair consulatation nor the government's right to decide what is in the National Interest.

  • Bernie, Banbury

    Why is there a total lack of any serious debate of the economic and green case by HS2 supporters? They seem to be besotted by the thought of a bright, shiny new train-set in the UK. and repeatedly attack anyone who challenges their views with hard facts as anti-progress, ill-informed NIMBYs - or worse.

    I've been struck by the measured and logical argument coming from the anti-HS2 campaigners- and I've met many who are in favour of High Speed Rail but see serious flaws in the current proposals.

    With the likes of railway supporters & thinkers such as Christian Wolmar, Imperial College and Chris Stokes also speaking out against the current plans they are in very good company.

  • Claydon William, Norwich, Norfolk, England

    HS2 is a project built 'in the national interest'; in addressing future carbon emissions, and should not be slowed by self-centred activists.

    The debate should not be whether we build HS2, but the best way to build it.

  • Steve, Letchworth, UK

    NIMBY's will occur in any big construction project. But isn't it interesting that when HS1 was built, lots of NIMBYs opposed it, Ashford residents etc. Then as soon as it is built, they love it to bits. And when Eurostar reduced Ashford services, they and their MP clamoured for reinstatement to get the town on the map.

    Maybe it's a good idea for Kent people/local politicians to speak to the Chilterns/Midlands equivalents to lobby hard for it.

  • Peter Hooper, Windsor., UK

    I think it will be interesting to see how many people pay their £5 to oppose the development of High Speed Rail in this country; so let's hope that the "Stop HS2" campaign publish the figures on numbers of persons contributing and how much cash is raised.

    Also it would be interesting to know how many of these people actually live within half a mile of the preferred Route 3. My own suspicion is that the main opponents are Swampy-like eco-warriors who roam the country (at public expense) looking to cause trouble for law abiding citizens..

    Whilst anti-HS2 campaigners like to suggest that every person attending public meetings about HS2 are opposed to High Speed Rail, the reality is that a lot of computer illiterate people only go along to see the plans.

  • Joe Rukin, Kenilworth, UK

    In terms of procurement rules, a pre-action protocol was issued against HS2 a few months back as whilst no contracts to build the line have been issued, ARUP were appointed to come up with the plans without any tendering. It was done on an exchange of letters, breaching the rules.

  • Mark Anthoni Annis, Cardiff, Wales

    This group hate anything to do with europe, they are still fighting the 2nd world war. Violent Nationalism has no place in the new europe

  • Paul, London, England

    Who wants to fund a load of whinging NIMBY's who only care about themselves, rather than the future outlook of our country ?