Groups say put the brakes on High Speed Rail

Representatives from different organisations came together this morning to highlight their concerns about the Government's plans to spend billions on the flawed High Speed Rail proposals. The event gave a chance for questions and discussions on this complex issue. As the Government consultation steams ahead it is vital that they listen to objections and rethink.

The meeting concluded with all the groups calling for HS2 to be cancelled.

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance said:

"HS2 is a monumental waste of money and not in the national interest. Politicians are ploughing ahead with a white elephant that will, even when it is finally completed, only benefit a fortunate minority of passengers, whilst cutting spending and hiking taxes for everyone else. This ludicrously expensive proposal is built on a flawed business case and isn't worth the huge cost. The Government needs to scrap high speed rail and look at more affordable alternatives to deliver the capacity the rail network needs."

Co-Chairing the group, Geoffrey Robinson MP, Labour for Coventry North West, said:

"HS2 is a total waste of taxpayers' money, it will benefit only the well heeled and does nothing to address immediate commuter needs. £30 billion is far too expensive, when improvements needed could be provided regionally much more economically. This project does nothing to reduce carbon emissions."

Co-Chairing the group, Andrea Leadsom MP, Conservative for South Northamptonshire said:

"This project is not value for money for taxpayers. There are also key questions that remain unanswered, including the actual impact of the project on other commuter lines and the real impact on the North South divide. It has not been shown that HS2 is better than alternative rail projects such as RP2. We need an independent assessment of the HS2 project."

Jenny Jones, London Mayoral Candidate for the Green Party said:

"This HS2 scheme fails the two green tests, environmental and social justice. It will be environmentally damaging in its construction, its operation and its ongoing maintenance. It will be fuel and carbon hungry and also regressive: with the many paying for the few. HS2 would be billions of taxpayers' money badly spent."

Alice Barnard, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance:

"HS2 will fundamentally alter large sections of the British countryside and have a huge environmental impact. The environmental impact of HS2 is just one of the costs, which has been underestimated and the so-called national benefits of HS2 are wildly exaggerated. Put simply HS2 is not the best use of £35 billion of public funds."

Professor Stephen Glaister, Director of the RAC Foundation said:

"HS2 is an hugely expensive scheme which will benefit a minority of wealthy travellers while doing nothing to solve the dire transport problems faced by the majority of the population. If HS2 offered good value for money or significant environmental and economic benefits then perhaps a case could be made for it. Unfortunately it does neither. On all rational grounds it would be hard to make a case for HS2 even in the good times. In this age of austerity it is almost impossible to see why policy makers are giving such blinkered commitment to the project which fails even on the Government's own recently revised decision for transport projects."

Jerry Marshall, Chairman of AGAHST said:

"If HS2 was in the national interest we would only be concerned with mitigation and compensation. But in fact it is appalling value for money and there are far better, cheaper, less disruptive ways to improve rail infrastructure, benefiting more people more quickly and leaving trains less crowded than with HS2. Proof of the pudding is HS1, which is running at a third of forecast demand, has cost the taxpayer billions, and left commuters up in arms at service cut backs. HS2 is a massive white elephant."

To read the TaxPayers' Alliance submission to the Transport Select Committee inquiry into the strategic case for High Speed Rail, click here.

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