Stop HS2 campaigners suggest "The 'real' cost" of so called "rail disaster"

Published on: Tuesday, 3rd September 2019

In the wake of a report by the BBC which claimed that HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport (DfT) had known that true HS2 costs were not available to MP's before they voted for HS2a enabling works in Parliament in 2016, campaigners fighting against the project have said that the latest development comes as no surprise adding that they knew that was the truth all along.

In late June 2019, the House of Commons Library Briefing Paper CBP 8601, for MP's reference, reported that the 2015 cost estimate was £64.9 billion in contrast to the £56 billion “funding envelope” which had reportedly regularly been quoted by HS2 Ltd and DfT staff.

Stop HS2 Erewash suggested that authorities had been deliberately misleading everyone for 4 years and described their collective anger that the information had been slow to emerge with taxpayers ultimately footing the growing bill for HS2, adding that they had a right to know how much money is being spent.

The campaign group believes that cost figures do not go far enough, stating that, adjusting for inflation from 2015 to 2019, and then further to 2033 for promised completion of HS2b,the final projected cost of HS2 & associated infrastructure connections would be about £200 billion, when considering that main building work has had official “Notice to Proceed” delayed due to HS2 Ltd failing the 3 critical capability tests set by Government).

In a latest detailed statement, they said that, if HS2 funding is reduced, like property offers and compensation payouts, local councils might have to raise council taxes to complete “connectivity” work, and added that those most impacted by the line would be paying twice over, suggesting that some who would lose their homes and businesses would feel the pain & insult even more.

It conttinued: 'With the cost of HS2 now spiralling upwards out of control, passengers working time on trains being ignored by HS2 Ltd, and the expected reduction of HS2 train frequency down from 18 to 13 per hour as used on the continent, it is clear that the already dubious HS2 business case will now be destroyed by 10 years of changing technology, user habits, and misleading PR spin re costs. One recent assessment of the updated 2033 benefit cost ratio gives 0.44. That's 44p for every £1 of investment by us the public!

'The HS2 Ltd's early promise was that HS2 would take flights out of the air and traffic off our motorways. The truth is that major airports are now striving for good connections to HS2 as they know that HS2 would help their airport businesses grow, in conflict with climate change priorities.'

The press release said that HS2 Ltd's own projections show that only up to 4% of car users are likely to shift to HS2 and said that campaigners found it hard to see Nottingham, Derby or Leicester people taking the time and effort to get themselves to Toton for HS2 trains when their cities already have very good services to London.   It also suggested that the reality of HS2 was that it would draw economic activity towards the capital and not the reverse, with the flow directions of branch line into HS2 planned to suit connections to the south.

It described time saving & increased capacity on existing railways as fallacies, suggesting that 520 miles of operating HS2 trains would be on conventional railways, and that HS2 would only be used by the top 10% of earners in the country, but with a cut of about £11 billion applied to existing railways to help improve HS2 future viability.

Stop HS2 said that HS2 Ltd continued to make mistakes, referring to missing the new planned railway freight hub near East Midlands Airport, a new housing estate at Mexborough in Yorkshire, sink holes over the salt mines of Cheshire, suggesting that the list continued to grow, as did reasons against use of the Toton site for the HS2 hub station – citing important flood plain, disused constricted railway site within green belt being taken back gradually by nature, in a sensitive river valley with many nature reserves linking to the nearby famous Attenborough nature reserve.

It said: "The projected numbers of jobs to be created by HS2 Ltd and supposed economic benefits continued to be a work of fiction, suggesting that the jobs created by HS2 are going to be taxpayer funded and not sustainable unless subsidised, something the Stop HS2 Erewash statement said was "an insult to us all at a time of economic shortage within the public sector.  To see £7.1 billion wasted when we have nurse and police shortages is a crime in our opinion.  If their promised jobs count is true then the country's unemployment would strangely disappear."

Brent Poland at Stop HS2 Erewash said: “If we cannot trust HS2 on costs then we cannot trust HS2 on the benefits, therefore we have every right to be sceptical of jobs figures plucked out of the air.”

He said that: "If the current Oakervee Review doesn't result in HS2 being cancelled, then HS2 Ltd & DfT must carefully consider a better, more appropriate alternative for our conurbation, using fully detailed cost analysis comparisons of both above and below ground alternatives. Omission of an East Midlands station altogether could be a possible way to save many billions. Tunnelling could save 6 years and £3.5 billion but as we know HS2 will do what it wants not what is best for the people of our area, or financially sensible.

Brent Poland explains “We get to suffer the cost in both our pockets and in our way of life which HS2 will change forever without us giving permission. Our communities have been violated by HS2 and even if it is cancelled they will still be scarred by this national disgrace”.

The deadline for HS2 Design Refinement Consultation is 11.45pm on Friday 6 September 2019.  Those wishing to contribute can do via e-mail to designrefinement2b@ipsos-mori.com.

Campaigners have signposted interested parties to the response form page 8, question 5 - “What are your comments about the proposal to realign the route as it passes Trowell to avoid the need to realign the M1?' adding that comments on HS2 coming through the Trent & Erewash valleys can be added to responses to this question.   The Stop HS2 Erewash press release as sent to Erewash Sound did not provide a direct link to the response form hence not being included here.

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