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November 2011
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psst dave HS2 – the long haul
By Kathryn Gurney

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all forget about HS2 now and get back to life as it was before we’d ever heard of a high speed rail network (wasn’t there enough to do already?).

It is clear from the party conference season and from coalition pronouncements that the Government isn’t planning on letting us do that any time soon. So what do we do: give up and go home? Or keep going?

Actually the campaign has come on much further than some might have anticipated over the last 12-18 months. The ground has shifted considerably from a place where most people assumed that the project must be a good idea – but preferably not here – to a much bigger question of principle.

In spite of the best attempts of the pro-HS2 lobby, those who began to campaign on a question of local interest are now joined by independent voices from all over the country, saying HS2 is the wrong priority for spending, will not bring the benefits suggested and should be scrapped. The Times, Telegraph and the FT have all contained editorials or articles questioning the economic, environmental and business cases for HS2; the Economist recently led with an editorial which called on the government to scrap HS2. And this week Trevor Kavanagh in the Sun said the same thing. Independent consultants (one of which was commissioned by the Department for Transport) have questioned the assumptions behind HS2. Just before the Conservative Party conference, Archie Norman laid out his blueprint for growth within the economy – and among his suggestions was “scrap HS2” (something that Nigel Lawson and others said last year).

So, we’re not alone.
With a growing body of sceptical opinion, Members of Parliament are privately starting to question whether indeed this is a battle worth fighting. We need to help them to make those private concerns more public.
CRAG has made recent pleas to those able to help friends and family off route to write to their MPs and let them know that HS2 does not have their support. We have a letter-writing team ready to provide help and advice (and examples!). If you would like to join the mailing list, please contact the Membership Secretary of Chiltern Ridges Action Group, Sally Knowles.

We are prepared for discussions on mitigation and Judicial Review – when the time comes – but the main fight is not over yet. Do join us in the battle – we’re in it for the Long Haul! and please register to join the Forum at
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