What’s the latest on HS2? Why have we had no public meetings of CAG since June?
At the moment, the Government is assessing the feedback from the public consultation which ended in July 2011. It
will make a statement about the future of the HS2 project in the next few weeks. Until we know the Government’s intention, there is little to discuss. As soon as the decision is announced, we will arrange a meeting to talk about our way forward; please keep an eye on the village notice boards for an announcement of this meeting or check our website.
What’s happened about the Public Consultation?
We understand that there were around 55,000 responses to the consultation; many thanks to all of you who helped achieve this total. The Government appointed a specialist analysis company, Dialogue by Design, to study and report on the consultation responses. We expect a report on its findings to be published by the Government at the same time that the decision on HS2 is announced. We would also expect the Government to respond to the main issues that emerge from the consultation.
Wasn’t the decision due to be announced in December?
Yes, it was, but the new Transport Secretary, Justine Greening, has advised that she needs further time to consider her decision and that her announcement will now be after the House of Commons returns on 10th January 2012.
So what have anti-HS2 campaigners been doing since July?
Reaching people. The emphasis has been on winning public opinion, so public relations activities have played a key role, with two PR agencies working on our behalf. A good measure of the success of this campaign has been that the project is frequently referred to as “controversial”, or similar, in newspaper articles and broadcasts.
The Internet has also been put to good use, with our four national websites taking the lead:
- HS2 Action Alliance http://www.hs2actionalliance.org
- Stop HS2 http://stophs2.org
- Better than HS2 http://www.betterthanhs2.org
- our “Contact your MP” site http://www.highspeedrail.org.uk
There has also been an active campaign in the social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
The Stop HS2 petition, with 108,000 signatures, was presented at 10 Downing Street. Many thanks to th ose who helped collect signatures: we obtained just short of 2,500.
A backbench debate was held in the House of Commons with a Stop HS2 demonstration outside.
A Parliamentary lobby day was attended by campaigners.
Is the campaign having the desired effect?
A growing number of MPs have expressed reservations about the HS2 project, although we still have a very long way to go to defeat the three-party unanimity in favour of HS2.
In addition, a recent YouGov opinion poll showed an increase of those opposed to spending money on HS2, from 48% in June to 64%.
Funding the campaign
Thanks to your generosity, your management committee has been able to donate £2,800 towards the campaign’s national costs. However, there is an urgent need for more money to support the national campaign and we have continued to organise local fundraising events and invite donations.
The Commons Transport Select Committee
This Committee recently published a report on its investigation into HS2. Although broadly in favour of HS2, the report criticises the Department for Transport for shortcomings in the work that it has done to date and recommends that the Government should review a number of matters before making a final decision. Although the views of select committees can influence governments, there are fears that the Government may accept the Committee’s backing of HS2 while ignoring the issues they raised.
What about the alternative route reported in the media?
On 1st November, Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle stated that Labour no longer favoured the route for HS2 that had been proposed by its own Transport Secretary when it was in Government. She proposed an alternative route, going via a “hub” station at Heathrow and then broadly following the route of the M40 northwards.
that the new route would have on Cubbington is unknown, as it was reported that the proposal suggests two alternatives for the route in our part of Warwickshire. One would take a route west of Warwick, but the other would use the currently proposed route east of Leamington.
What are they up to?
The cynical amongst you may see this as just political mischief making, an attempt to fuel the already considerable Conservative rebellion in the affected counties. The new
route seems to have little chance of being adopted by the Government, as the proposal was not submitted to the public consultation. Since the Labour front bench has indicated that it will support HS2 even if the current route is retained, there is little pressure on the Government to change course.
Whatever the coming months may bring, your Action Group will continue to fight the HS2 proposals and we will do our utmost to protect Cubbington from the effects of the project, if it goes ahead.
Cubbington Action Group against HS2
Contact: Peter Delow, Chairman.
Tel: 01926 336838