HS2 – What Happens Next ?

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By Guest Author Joe

It’s almost two years since the original announcement of HS2, and whilst the arguments for progressing with this gargantuan white elephant keep getting weaker, both the campaign and opinion against it keep getting stronger.

It came as no surprise that Justine Greening, despite saying she was going to take ‘great care’ before deciding on whether or not to go with HS2, announced she was going to proceed with the EU-demanded vanity project, in January, just a couple of weeks after Philip Hammond had been due to.  To highlight the difference between the blind spin from Government and the truth of the matter, we’ve produced a video of ‘What the Transport Secretary didn’t say’. It would be great if you can share and forward to people who don’t really know a great deal about HS2. It can be found via this link – http://youtu.be/OiudCN-SzNU


When she announced her pre-determined decision to go ahead with HS2,  Justine Greening was really committing to was blowing a billion pounds of your taxes on consultants this parliament. This has happened purely on her nod, there won’t actually be a vote in Parliament about this for at least another two years.

It won’t come as a surprise that ARUP, following their complete ineptitude in drawing up three sets of error-strewn plans for HS2, along with the more successful policy of chucking money at various chambers of commerce who have lobbied for HS2, have already been awarded a £7m contract to provide ‘environmental services’ and are in the running for two more contracts.

So now we are at the stage for ‘engagement on environmental issues’, meaning environmental surveys, which legally should have taken place before a decision to proceed, are about to take place.

Affected landowners – which includes people with a back garden backing onto a railway line, as well as farmers – are being offered £1,000 to allow surveyors onto their land.  The packs are very daunting looking and (incorrectly) imply that people have to allow access to HS2 Ltd and their contractors.  Those affected do not have to allow  this, as HS2 Ltd have no legal right of access at the moment.

After consulting with the appropriate people, which may include your affected neighbours, you may decide to grant HS2 Ltd access.  If so, if ask them to make the cheque out to ‘Stop HS2’, that would be nice!

Alongside the environmental surveys, this spring there will be a third consultation on compensation and HS2 Ltd will send their options on the routes to Leeds and Manchester to Government. There will be a consultation on the ‘safeguarding zone’ too, but that won’t be with the public, just ‘statutory bodies’.

While that is happening, there will be environmental forums, planning forums and community forums. If you believe you or your group should be involved in the local community forum (the public have no rights whatsoever to the other two), please email sally.fulcher@hs2.gsi.gov.uk,

According to HS2 Ltd presentations a new ‘blight zone’ will be in place (whatever that means) by autumn and land will be safeguarded, meaning no other planning applications can be made. We will also find out what the preferred routes going to Leeds & Manchester are, but these will not be consulted on until 2014.

The HS2 plan is that by this time next year we will have the public consultation on the environmental analysis for the London-Birmingham/Lichfield route. The hybrid bill will arrive in parliament on the very specific date of 25th October 2013, we are told, where it is expected there will be over a year of parliamentary process before it is voted on, which will be close to the 2015 general election.

HOWEVER, As you might have read in the press, there is going to be a legal challenge, a Judicial Review. In fact, there are going to be a couple of them. The 51m group, a coalition of 18 local councils, including two councils which aren’t even on the route of HS2 have come together and will be challenging the validity of the consultation process. A coalition of action groups and environmental organisations are challenging the environmental case thus far. If you have any information which you believe may be relevant to these legal challenges, please send it on tochallenge@stophs2.org

Update from Roger

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Sunday March 11th is exactly two years to the day since Andrew Adonis announced HS2.  The arguments against HS2 are getting stronger and opponents more widespread, but the government seem determined to push on with the gargantuan white elephant.

For an update of the current situation, please see http://stophs2.org/news/4815-stop-hs2-what-happens-next

MARCH IN MARCH to mark the second anniversary of the HS2 announcement – see below

Stop HS2 Urgent Appeal

Judicial Review appeal for funds.

A Judicial Review can still stop HS2.

We need to act now. Money is needed urgently to fund this legal action.

The planned Judicial Review, funded by action groups opposed to HS2, will challenge the government on the grounds that HS2 is in breach of the law regarding the environment and habitat.

Together with HS2AA and other action groups, StopHS2 is committed to raising the required funds.

Please give generously for this critical legal fight. Donations are needed now.

Don’t forget…Judicial Review stopped the 3rd runway at Heathrow at the 11th hour. Judicial Review can still stop HS2.
Legal advice gives us confidence that the Judicial Review can succeed.  We believe it offers the best chance of getting the Government to reassess HS2 and the chosen route as part of a proper enquiry into the country’s strategic transport needs.

Stop HS2 are seeking funds to contribute to the action groups’ legal challenge. This is a critical point in the campaign and we need to raise a substantial sum of money. By law, if we are to challenge the Government’s decisions about HS2, we have to do so now.

Please help if you can, by sending a cheque for whatever you can afford, made out to STOP HS2 c/o Roger Waller, Treasurer, The Outlook, Dunsmore, Nr Wendover, Buckinghamshire HP22 6QJ or  direct to Lloyds TSB Bank plc (account number: 34934760, sort code: 30-94-93) in the name of STOP HS2 LIMITED


This month, action groups are holding ‘March in March’ to mark the second anniversary of the HS2 announcement.

10th March: Aylesbury, a walk starting at 10am in Old Risborough Road, Stoke Manderville, Nr Aylesbury.
11th March:  Cubbington, a set of walks starting at The Crown at 10.45
Kenilworth Greenway to Burton Green, different walks, starting at Stoneleigh Village Club (11am), The Engine, Kenilworth (12.30) and The Brickmakers Arms, Berkswell (12.30).
18th March: walks around Perivale Wood in Ealing from 4pm prior to a public meeting at 5pm
25th March: a walk in starting at the Denham Country Park Centre at 11am.

More details http://stophs2.org/events where you can also find sponsorship forms.
If you can organise another walk, please let us know the details, and we’ll add it to the list.

Thank you for everything you’ve done over the last two years: with your continued support, and working together, we can defeat HS2.

Penny, Joe and Roger

A New Opportunity

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Dear Stop HS2 Supporter,

We have a unique opportunity to make a real difference over HS2.

On Friday, Justine Greening became Secretary of State for Transport, due to a mini-reshuffle following Liam Fox’s resignation.

Now we need to let her that we oppose HS2, just like her constituents opposed the third runway at Heathrow.

Ms Greening will know that Stop HS2 delivered a petition with 108,000 signatures to Downing Street on Tuesday, that another anti HS2 petition was delivered on Thursday and that there was a demonstration opposite the Houses of Parliament before a lively debate with MPs from all around the country opposed to HS2.

She will also know that the majority of HS2 consultation responses oppose the project, and that Ms Greening has a chance to rethink the Government’s high speed rail policy completely.

Writing to her personally will let her know that if she continues with the HS2 plan, we will continue to oppose it with the same determination we have already shown towards Philip Hammond.

So if you oppose HS2, please, please write to Ms Greening as soon as possible, and help stop this £33 billion white elephant.

Email address greeningj@parliament.uk

Justine Greening MP
Secretary of State for Transport
Department for Transport
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road

Thank you.

Stop The HS2 Beacons

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A beacon will be lit at Packington Moor, near Lichfield, at 6pm on Monday 28th February, as part of a co-ordinated protest against the proposed high speed train link known as HS2 and you are invited to be a part of this admission FREE event.

Over 30 Communities along the length of the proposed route from Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire will burn beacons to coincide with the launch of the Government’s public consultation.

The Beacons, which will all be lit at 6pm, will be burnt to bring attention to the irreversible damage that HS2 will inflict on communities and countryside, and the expense it will cause to tax payers for generations.

Lichfield Action Group and Whittington Parish Community Stop HS2 Action Group are combining their efforts to help organise the beacon along with John Barnes, who farms at Packington Moor, and his daughter Grace, who runs the farm shop.

Packington Moor will be demolished to make way for HS2.

Come along and join the support in opposition to HS2 – ADMISSION & PARKING IS FREE

Monday 28th February 2011 at Packington Moor

Gates Open at Packington Moor at 5.30pm – The Beacon will be alight by 6pm

Soup & Bacon Sandwiches will be available to buy – profits raised go in support of STOP HS2

(The event ends at 8pm)


Via Google Maps: CLICK HERE

We hope to see you there!
John Heeler – WPC STOPHS2
M: 07581 845 345
John Heeler – WPC STOPHS2
M: 07581 845 345

Conservative donors rebel against high speed rail link

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By Melissa Kite

David Cameron is under fire from senior Tory donors, some of whom have threatened to withdraw funding if a proposed high speed rail link through the English countryside goes ahead.

When David Cameron decided to back Labour plans for a high speed rail link through the English countryside he would have been wise to study the route.

If he had taken a closer look at the proposed line from London to Birmingham, called HS2, he might have made some worrying discoveries.

The rail link not only slices through sixteen Conservative constituencies – four of which are cabinet ministers’ seats and six more junior ministers’ – but it affects the homes and business premises of some of the party’s biggest financial backers.

Analysis of the route shows that the line blights huge swathes of land owned by party donors, several of whom have told The Sunday Telegraph that they are stopping their support in protest.

It goes through a business park owned by Robert Edmiston, a prominent Conservative backer who has just been made a peer by Mr Cameron.

It also skirts within two kilometres of the historic family estate of Jacob Rothschild, whose family has donated substantial sums over the years.

As it cuts through the Tory heartlands of the Chilterns, Buckinghamshire and Warwickshire, the railway will impact on hundreds of thousands of Conservative voters too. Sixty action groups have already sprung up along the route.

The high speed link was the brainchild of Lord Adonis, the Labour transport secretary, who announced the scheme months before Labour’s defeat.

Tory insiders have warned Mr Cameron it could be his “Millennium Dome” if he insists on pressing ahead with it.

As well as being massively costly, it is risky from a business and environmental perspective, opponents of the project claim.

Construction costs and compensation for those whose homes are destroyed is expected to send the final bill soaring to at least £29 billion.

Supporters of the project claim it will shave half an hour off the journey time from London to Birmingham, critics say the benefit could be as little as ten minutes.

Up to 18 trains an hour travel at 250mph through the heart of the English countryside on lines as wide as the Channel Tunnel rail link. Hundreds of homes will have to be demolished to carry the trains through residential areas.

Critics say at an estimated £200 at least for a ticket, the train would not attract enough passengers to be viable and could even run at a loss.

They claim the CO2 emissions would be enormous and that viaducts – which they claim could be as high as 45 metres – would create environemntal blight.

Tory business leaders are among those incandescent about the scheme and are lobbying Mr Cameron to change his mind.

Mr Edmiston, a car importer who has given over £2 million to the Conservatives and who funds the academy schools programme, has been told the line will go through premises owned by his company IM, a major employer in the West Midlands.

He is one of several members of the Midlands Industrial Council (MIC), a powerful group of Tory donors, protesting about the link which they say will be of no benefit to the region.

Chris Kelly, chairman of Keltruck, the UK’s largest dealer of Scania vehicles, and deputy chairman of the MIC, said: “We need capital expenditure desperately on the roads.

“Why are we spending taxpayers’ hard earned money on an additional rail line that we don’t need to get people to London ten or twenty minutes quicker?”

Another party donor, David Allen, whose estate in Northamptonshire is on the route, is withdrawing financial support for the party over the issue.

Mr Allen, who gives around £50,000 a year to the Conservatives, has served the party notice that he is cutting off donations while HS2 remains on the table.

His son Colin Allen said: “The business case totally ignores the internet. Rail journeys are going to be replaced by high definition video links yet the Department for Transport has totally ignored this.

“If there are no passengers, HS2 will be the worst financial disaster this government has had.”

Lewis Garfield, an industrialist in Northamptonshire, is also withdrawing donations.

He said: “Even if I lived in Scotland I would be fuming that they are spending £30 billion on what is a politician’s vanity parade.

“It’s another Concorde, a rich man’s toy which will be paid for by everyone. I have been a donor for 40 years and if they pass this I will withhold my funding.”

Rachel Halvorsen, a Tory councillor in Northamptonshire, said she will resign from the party if the rail ink goes ahead. Her family farm near Brackley, which is organic with rare breeds and a farm shop, will be destroyed by the railway.

“It’s not just Nimbyism. It’s completely the wrong policy. The economic case isn’t there but Cameron has become fixated by it. It’s a fat cat businessman’s railway, a complete white elephant.

“The compensation is derisory. It’s absolutely sickening. I’m a dyed in the wool Conservative but I would vote for another party now. I will resign my membership of the Conservative Party if this goes through.”

In the south, the proposed line comes within a mile and a half of Waddesdon Manor, the Buckinghamshire estate of the Rothschilds and the National Trust’s second most visited property.

Friends of Lord Rothschild said he was “very upset” about the route.

It seems Mr Cameron could hardly have come up with a more troublesome route if he had tried.

As this newspaper revealed last week, several ministers have said they will resign over the link. Cheryl Gillan, the Welsh Secretary, has said she will go and David Lidington, the foreign office minister, is among those who have said they will vote against the plans.

John Bercow, the Commons Speaker and MP for Buckingham, is said to be furious.

Meanwhile, Chesham & Amersham constituency association has told Conservative HQ it will be ending its commitment to contribute £10,000 a year to central funds and Buckinghamshire Tory associations have indicated they might do the same.

The Coalition government, however, appears determined to push the scheme through.

Mr Cameron made a strong statement in support of it last week, dismaying campaigners who fear that his mind is already made up before a formal consultation on the plans begins.

Although construction is not expected until 2017, after the next election, the Government wants to pass a hybrid Bill paving the way for the project to start sooner if possible.

“He will have a fight on his hands,” vowed one party donor. “We are ready for a huge row, but we are hoping he will see sense.”

Mr Cameron has said HS2 – which will eventually connect London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds – will have a “transformative” effect, powering regeneration and addressing the north-south divide.

While acknowledging the problem of noise pollution, he insisted he would not be swayed by pleading from his own MPs.

He said: “I have seen the map. This is incredibly difficult when high-speed rail is thundering through your constituency, because you, yourself, may not see the benefit from it.

“We can’t put a stop in every constituency – the whole point about high-speed rail is that it’s got to go fast.”

Ministers threaten revolt over high-speed rail link

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MP's Revolt

By Andrew Gilligan

A further two ministers have said they are strongly opposed to the link and two more have expressed reservations. Many backbenchers of all parties, plus the Speaker, John Bercow, have also pledged to fight the plan.

The Government is preparing a formal consultation on the

£17 billion London to Birmingham line, which would see up to 18 trains an hour travel at 250mph through the heart of the Chilterns, Buckinghamshire and Warwickshire.

Because of the high speeds involved, the tracks must be relatively straight and level and would require many cuttings and viaducts. Hundreds of homes would have to be demolished.

Supporters, including Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, say the line is essential to promote economic growth and low-carbon travel. Opponents say that neither the economic nor the environmental case for the project stacks up.

Cheryl Gillan, the Welsh Secretary and MP for Chesham and Amersham, one of the areas that would be worst-affected by the line, said: “I would defy the party whip – be very, very sure of that. My constituency comes first in all instances. The impact on the whole area would be absolutely phenomenal.”

David Lidington, the Foreign Office minister, who is MP for Aylesbury, said: “If it came down to it, I would vote against the route as proposed. I am personally against it.”

He described the link, which would have no station in the Aylesbury area, as a “devastating blow” for his constituency.

Jeremy Wright, a Government whip and MP for Kenilworth, said the proposed route, which would pass through the narrow strip of Green Belt separating his town from Coventry, was “not the right one”.

“My constituency has always been most important to me. I’ve made it quite clear to my constituents that if I didn’t believe I could do my job effectively as their advocate and their representative and simultaneously be a minister, then I would not be a minister,” he said. He added that he did not believe it was “a hopeless cause”.

For a minister or whip to break party discipline and vote against the Government is automatically a resigning matter. The three MPs are understood to hope that it will not come to that and are lobbying colleagues to change their minds. Sources close to Miss Gillan said the Prime Minister had stressed that the precise route had yet to be fixed.

Two other Tory ministers have expressed strong opposition to the link, though have not yet gone as far as saying that they will vote against it. Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, said: “I continue to have serious doubts. It’s clearly going to have a negative impact on the Chilterns.” Mr Grieve is MP for Beaconsfield and the line will skirt the northern edge of his constituency.

Michael Fabricant, MP for Lichfield and a government whip, told his local paper that a proposed new viaduct over part of the historic cathedral city was “unacceptable” and said the whole line should be cancelled.

Although construction is not expected to begin until 2017, after the next election, the Government wants to pass a hybrid Bill giving powers to build the line before 2015, requiring MPs to make a decision on where they stand in this parliament.

Birmingham get to Lobby MP’s

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Campaigners opposed to a new high speed rail line from London to Birmingham will have a chance to put their case to MPs after they were invited to speak at a Commons inquiry.Read

Read More http://www.birminghampost.net/tags/stop-high-speed-2/#ixzz15iSH6zwn

Meeting Minutes 10th Nov 2010

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  • Wednesday 10th November 2010
  • Present: Gaynor Pope,Les Armstrong, Claire Bennett,
  • Committee Members, Members of the local community
  • Next Meeting:  Monday 15th November 2010 – Sunrise.Packington Lane

Meeting Begin

Claire Bennett opened the meeting by thanking everyone in attendance Claire Introduce herself and people on the stage.Gaynor Pope. Les Armstrong as Residents of Hopwas.

General information: The meeting was being recorded for our records

Claire explained the reason for the meeting ( HS2 )  and that we wished to share the details we have attained in the last few weeks.Claire said the meeting would take approx 1 hour

Les Armstrong was then asked to talk on HS2 the history ( when we found out about the proposed Tamworth route ) The preferred Adonis route  and the Tamworth proposed route

 We where made aware of the alternative Tamworth route a few weeks ago and it was mentioned on the Hints website . It appeared a gentleman from Weeford Parish is trying to move the route from Hints to us ,Les said that HS1 Folkestone and London cost 5 .2 billion and last month was sold to 2 Canadian Pensions funds for 2.1 billion -   not very encouraging ! HS2 London-  Birmingham -  Manchester  Train speed  250 miles  per hour which means it is not able to have many stations (  no stop in Staffordshire . No benefit to Tamworth – people will have to travel to Birmingham to catch train -) Les then explained the route the rail would take from Mile oak through to the Hopwas ridge

Via the Devils Dressing room and out by the entrance to Hopwas Hayes wood ( semi ancient woodland ). Les said that he feared that if the outside of Hopwas wood was allowed to be sacrificed for HS2 then it would be a clear opening to the woods being quarried. The route would then continue to the back of Packington Hall and across Rifle ranges.

Les said this was just a proposed route apparently suggested by a gentleman in Hints Parish

Les said it was imperative action was taken .The proposed route Les said was due to be announced by the government  before Christmas, and if this was so they would need to have the route in place , literature ready by approx the end of November. This new proposed route we do know was proposed to the secretary of State Philip Hammond at a meeting in Lichfield on the 5th October 2010 .So it appears that this route is being considered.

Les said this was all we could tell people at the moment, and had anyone any questions:

Ron Gibson, Local Landowner asked how all this would affect house prices

Les said that it would definitely affect prices in Drayton Bassett, Mile Oak Hopwas and Whittingham. Les said because of the elevation of the line most of Tamworth would see it

And if they could see it they would hear it. Les said that Charles Wylie and himself had attended a meeting in London on the  25th October and it was said that the noise would be 95 decibels ( Same noise as Jet aircraft at take off )Les  said where he lives on Hopwas bank they can hear people talking on Tamworth Cricket pitch – just an example of the noise, and that people in Hopwas will hear this train and probably also in  Tamworth.

The trains are proposed to run at 250 miles an hour every 4 mins, certainly making an impact on Hopwas tranquillity, and also with these electric trains at night time there is a bright flash.

Also causing an intrusions to peace and tranquility.Elevation of the line from Bangley Farm to Devils Dressing Room on a via duct 20 metres high plus all the electric cables.

Mike Wright Rail Vehicle Engineer  ( Resident of Hopwas ) – speciality roaming vehicles not civil engineering – in the audience gave some technical insight into HS2. Technical spec. Maximum gradient should be  2.5 % which is a 1 in 40 gradient which is still steep in railway terms which means that for every metre you go up you have to go out 40 metres. In the area by the Devils dressing room you are going to have to raise it to 60 metres. Embankment 2 4 kilm ( mile and a half ) From the Devils dressing room to Bourne Brook which is what Hints people are trying to protect You will have a large,high embankment or viaduct going across Bourne Brook , with the same this side of the hill.

They may be able to reduce the height a little by making a bigger cutting into the hill

This would mean that the scar left would be wider.The engineers would try and match the spoil they take out of the hill with the height of the embankment.Its a trade off

Anonymous asked asked if the original Adonis route would be that high. Mike said, No it would not be any way near. He explained that HS2 would recommend their preferred route before Christmas and then there would be a consultation period in the new year.The Original Adonis route had an high Viaduct going over Bourne Brook adjacent to Hints but they were asked to look at that again and it was reduced in height by 10- metres.The magnitude of the earth works involved is nothing like this Tamworth route. This route the earthworks would be enormous. The Hints route they have lower the tracks to put as much into cuttings – hence noise transmissions are not so great, were as up on an embankment

The opposite is true.

Anonymous asked if this new alternative route would be more expensive than the original Adonis route. Mike said this was not his area and could not comment

Anonymous /Claire Bennett asked with regards to the width of the rail. Mike said the specifications are :

Level ground the rail would be 25 metres fence to fence. But a further 25 metres each side of vegitation. This changes when talking about a cutting or embankment, because of the angle these take. Mike said again not his area and could not comment,He would try and find out.

Anonymous asked a question – something to do with rail track width 25metres not audible but answer – Rail tracks have to be 4.5 metres apart.

Les Armstrong said that this is contrary to  what was said at the meeting in London on the 25th October.Mike said he could not comment on that and that he was taking his information from the HS2 technical  appendix on the Department of Transport Web site.

Gaynor Pope thanked Mike for his input. 

Anonymous asked if this Tamworth route had been mentioned at the meeting in London on the 25th October. Les Armstrong said the question of width of track was mentioned that the trains had to be  25 metres apart. But that various things had been said with very many speakers.Les said that what was true that the width would be 75 metres track to track –

Mike disagreed and reiterated what he had said before 25 metres fence to fence and then an addition 25 metres of vegetation making a total of 75 metres- All on the HS2 web site

Anonymous continued … as previous asked the question again had the Tamworth route been mentioned in the London meeting. Les Armstrong said no but that we are aware that Philip Hammond Secretary of State for Transport has been presented with this proposal. Again the person in the audience asked was a proposal just from Hints, and Les said it was from a person from Weeford – But we could of course not give names – and published on Hints website.

The map we had access to on that site was blurred and it was very difficult to see

Where this new proposed route would be

Ron Gibson asked how many more people would this new proposed route effect than the

Original Adonis route : Les said that from the information we had the Hints route would be seen by 8 houses .The Tamworth / Hopwas route it will be seem by thousands, the whole of the Tamworth conurbation plus  Drayton Bassett. Mile oak, Hopwas and Whittington, Whittington being in a different constituency than us

Ray Vanstone introduced himself as chair of Friends of Hopwas wood and said he would like to confirm that Hopwas is designated as Ancient wood.It wasn’t but they have been working with Natural England and it has now been reinstated Claire Bennett said that was Fantastic news.Ray wanted to make this clear because it was important that the Woods had ancient woodland status because of the issue of mining the sand and gravel in the woods.Mr Vanstone then asked for clarification : aware of Original Adonis route

Currently the one the government are working on .asked if it was correct that one individual presented an alternative to Philip Hammond to consider and not Hints Parish Council

Les Armstrong said that as far as we Know Hints Parish Council are not supporting this proposal, but this proposal had some credance as the individual had been allowed to go into a meeting with Philip Hammond and present this proposal to him. Mr Vanstone asked what this meeting was about – who else was present – Ron Gibson said that a member of the Hints Parish council was at this meeting and the original purpose of the meeting was to get the rail moved from near Boley Park – That is factual

Again Mr Vanstone asked – This alternative proposal is by one person and not supported by anyone else – Mr Gibson said he wouldn’t say that

Gaynor Pope then said that we had the minutes from that meeting that anyone could read

She listed people present :2 HS2 persons/Lichfield council /2 Lichfield action group/Michael Fabricant/Christopher Pincher( our MP) Gaynor then went on to explain How we had found out about this alternative Route

We became aware of this information – lived with it for 2 weeks to make sure we had the correct info – We are just local people with this info and we are sharing Christopher Pincher was inviting to come to Hopwas Ridge and accepted this invitation 2 weeks ago – He did say it was an idyllic spot – We don’t think he had been up on the ridge before.How many people actually have not been up there?.It is a beautiful spot and a part of green – we need to keep and fight for – Yes it is one man’s proposal and infact this is what Christopher Pincher said – one man who has drawn a line on a map – unfortunately this man has been allowed access to 2 HS2 engineers. Philip Hammond – we have not been able to gain access to these people – no one has come back to us  – For 3 weeks we have been trying to get to speak with someone, yet Michael Fabricant got this man from weeford into a meeting.Christopher Pincher said we need to get as many people To write letters emails etc –rally the troops- He did not say this is just a line on a map someone has proposed – This concerns us and makes us think we have to start fighting and organising. Gaynor mentioned the template letters we had given out during the evening and urged everyone to write letters sending them to the 4 addresses we had given on the information sheet, let them know we are concerned and upset .She said this was just the start. She said that we are not saying we want this to go back to Hints – we didn’t ask for this argument it was brought to us !

Anonymous asked mentioned the list of email address – some were incorrect – Gaynor acknowledged this- She did say we have amended this and that also now we have a Blogg, Facebook and Twitter with correct details .Gaynor said that if anyone with IT skills

Could offer assistance the committee would be grateful

Anonymous asked If Michael Fabricant goes someone into a meeting why couldn’t Christopher Pincher do the same for us – Had we asked? Claire Bennett said she did ask Mr Pincher this question when he came to Hopwas Ridge and his answer was that there was a procedure to follow and he would wait for the letters – there was a waiting list – Claire asked him to get on the telephone and try and get on this list – she followed that up with an email – but still we have heard nothing – this is what we are finding – no one comes back to us!

John ( Rose Cottage ) asked why someone had proposed this alternative route- Les said it was because the Adonis Hints route went through or near this gentleman property. John asked why anyone would listen to just one man and how did he get into a meeting to propose this – Les said that was the worrying factor for us!

Michael Fabricant ,Les said seems to have galvanised a lot of support for Hints and Lichfield. We though do not seem to be able to get that type of support.Michael Fabricant of course if the Tory Whip and our MP it may be is subservient to him !

Jeff from Whittington Parish Council ( asked to attend on their behalf ) he was welcomed

Asked regarding the information we have been giving. Michael Fabricant is the MP for Whittington and it didn’t make sense to them that he could support the alternative route

Jeff asked why we were not apposing HS2 and not just the route

Les Armstrong said he was glad this had been mentioned; We have only recently been aware of this alternative route, and as the announcement of the preferred route is going to be made before Christmas – it is simply and case of lack of time. Hints has had all year to take action – we need to take action to prevent this alternative route – then we can fight HS2

Ron Gibson – Hints Parish Council said he had been told that they are apposed to HS2 and that this alternative route was nothing to do with them. He had asked them why then was it on their Website.Also why is there a second alternative route that was on show and their open day at Hints .

Someone asked Mike Wright  the how long it would take to change details from the preferred Adonis route to the Tamworth /Hopwas route – surely it would be a big task   - Mike said with computer software probably only a day The person asked if environmental issues would be taken into account, and Mike said that yes a team would do ground work, but he was no aware this had been done as yet

Gaynor Pope asked if it was correct that HS2 engineers had been out twice to look at the Route ( Tamworth / Hopwas ) he did not know

Les Armstrong said that Michael Fabricant has a petition with 3 and half thousand signatures on it  – to be presented to Philip Hammond – to get the route changed This is not in our favour at all. Also with regards the gentleman from Whittington not understanding Fabricants stance on the alternative route, it is believed that government had calculated the amount of voters in Whittington as apposed to Boley Park !!!! Whittington Lost

Lady from the audience said she apposed it not so much for Height or sound but how it feels, she suffers from Electro Magnetic High Persensortivity – she has a house in Tamworth she cannot live in because it is apparel to Train track – this is a growing concern Lots of people are suffering from power lines / tracks etc.

Richard Barnes from Packington Hall Farm direct line of sight for route, He referred to his letter on the Hints website regarding why the route was a bad idea : Whittington Ranges.They are not closed temporarily out of use -   no ammunitions they will use them again – they are not controlled by Whittington Barracks but from  Military strategy of  training  areas which is controlled by Swinnerton in Stone , they are the people who organise who shots where and what ! They have just spent half million pounds on this Sea range high tec , electronically operated tragic system to use Richard said that he had put on the website that these areas would not be able to be used on this route because  they are restricting more and more military ranges. Whittington is quite a high spec one and  runs with Kingsbury and Kinnerton

Mr Lousher saw the proposals and drew another line for the route excluding the firing ranges and bringing it to the end of my garden at  Packington Hall Farm.This line then went through the miniature ranges, as we all know Whittington Barracks are now Medical training facility. In General terms a little bit of knee jerking reaction going on.

Mr Barnes reiterated that we have little time to appose this route. The Adonis route looking at it is the most sensible route _ Although he opposed HS2 completely – This alternative route has many difficulties and would seem to cost more – Huge logistical undertaking. We have to make a Hugh nuisance of ourselves and get our voices heard or we will lose this battle – This gentleman from Weeford has somehow got into a meeting with HS2 engineers  and had his voice heard. Mr Barnes said this whole project has been screened in secrecy – we have to act now – He said he was directly on the route and yet has not been informed about anything – long term blight – Once it’s set it will not be moved

i.e Toll Road 

Gaynor thanked him and said he had completely nailed that

Just a point forgotten, When Pincher visited the Hopwas Ridge – It was said that when the engineers were first looking at a route, because they thought they had a hill to go over they dismissed it. But because the quarry has been mentioned on this alternative route suddenly they realise not so much earth work has to be done – so this is a worry for us

We have distributed to Coton Green. Drayton Bassett. Hopwas. Mile Oak 350 flyers through doors, So  a little disappointed at the attendance, tell as many people as possible, don’t assume people know tell everyone you meet

We need your contact details to keep you informed, Christopher Pincher was asked to attend but he was in London. Tamworth Herald have been informed and said they will come on board but not much action yet – please feel free to contact them  – We hope we will have Some acknowledgement in this weeks addition.

Please complete the template letters we have provided or write your own, All the addresses for the letters are on the adjourning literature, As many letters or emails as possible, View the Web site for info

Thank you to Alan Sadler for setting up our Web site, Twitter Facebook etc

Mark Hayes taking pictures – Pictures going around the room to view

Coton and Hopwas Club again did not take any money for the room

Thank people who have offered to help

Jim Bliss – Knows everything about Quarries and gradients

Mike Wright – He will help us to move the HS2 route – but he is in favour of HS2 and will not oppose in principal – He said he thought it was a waste of our time apposing

HS2 – Gaynor acknowledged his comments and said we were aware of his position

Gaynor just confirmed that the government have proposals in place up to HS9. Mike Wright was not aware of this.

Mr Vanstone said he could not agree with Mike and that it was not a waste of time to oppose HS2 he said we just can’t do nothing about it – we have to fight it. If we just sit back the government can say that no one objected to it –Its not just us affected it goes all up the country.If they have hundreds of letters of objection – people saying what is the justification for HS2 – lots of  holes in his opinion in the government’s proposals and we don’t need HS2. Mr Vanstone suggested people go on HS2 web site read the details and see if they agree or not If you don’t let them know. If in the end the Government have their way, then we need to look at the best route .Nothing at the moment convinces Mr Vanstone that HS rail will help the economy of this country.

Someone asked if we had time to do anything and Mr Vanstone said this was the problem as the government seem very committed to this HS2 scheme, but we have to try.They still have to have a Bill and put it through parliament which they have scheduled for 2017 to commence in 2019 – in 7 years a lot can happen. The design of this route is not complete yet – they have still got to do this sustainability programme which will look at the detail of the impact of the community – There is still a long way to go – Go on their web site and it tells you they are not there yet with details – But we need to let them know our objections

Les Armstrong said that Mott McDonald had just been appointed design engineer for the track – not the route. Mr Vanstone said that was a very good reason for putting in all your objection letters. Saying you say you are consulting with us, but you are then awarded contracts for part of the work to people !

Claire Bennett said we couldn’t at this stage get bogged down in this type of detail – we had to oppose the route because of the shortness of time. Mr Vanstone acknowledged this

Gaynor said any questions we cannot answer we will go away and find out – post on blog etc

Claire Bennett thank everyone for attending, asked for any ideas, help etc

Meeting End

Speed isn’t Green

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The following has been produced using an audio file of Joe Rukin’s presentation to the Parliamentary Lobby Day on 25th October and his slides: it is not a word-for-word transcription, but captures the spirit and some details of his presentation.

Ever since my geography A level project I’ve supported railways.  Back then I was looking at the need for a station locally in my home town of Kenilworth – the majority of people’s journeys are local, and investments in local infrastructure can reap the most – in terms of benefit, in terms of carbon reduction and in terms of congestion relief. With HS2 we find that, despite the statements made by politicians, it is not a low carbon solution, it will have no significant downward impact on aviation, it will not ease congestion in any significant manner, it is intended to promote more travel, there are less polluting alternatives and it will leave an unnecessary scar on some of our most unspoilt countryside.

The Coalition Agreement states “We will establish a high speed rail network as part of our programme to fulfil our joint ambitions for creating a low carbon economy.”

However, along with a lot of things about High Speed 2, when you hear it for the first time, it sounds like it must be right, but when you look into it, you find it is completely false. Energy use rises approximately with the square of speed; so trains operating at 250mph will use approximately three times the energy that trains operating at 125mph will use.

There is also the question of how they will be powered.  We heard the announcement last week about nuclear power stations, and at Calvert an incinerator is going to be built right next to the line. But don’t just take my word for it. A 2007 report commissioned  by the Government stated (Booz Allen Hamilton “Estimated Carbon Impact of New North-South Line” );

“There is no potential carbon benefit in building a new line on the London to Manchester route over the 60-year appraisal period. In essence, the additional carbon emitted by building and operating a new rail route is larger than the entire quantity of carbon emitted by the air services,”

To repeat that, the entire carbon emitted by the air services is less then the carbon impact of building HS2.  There is no carbon benefit in building this.

HS2 will have no significant impact on aviation.

HS2 anticipate a 178% increase in domestic aviation by 2033, but demand has been falling.  HS2 will have very little effect on many routes.  A lot of domestic aviation is cross country – Newcastle to Exeter for instance. From London to Birmingham, there are no flights.   And if domestic flights are cut in the long term, what will happen to those flight slots?  Will airport chief executives of those airports going to say we aren’t flying Manchester to Heathrow, we’ll just not use that air slot?  Of course they won’t!  Those flight slots will be filled with international flights with bigger planes, flying greater distances and creating more of a carbon impact..

The elephant in the room is that the Secretary of State asked for options to go to Heathrow.  We already know it’s going to Birmingham International.  The station between Nottingham and Derby looks very much like East Midlands Airport, and again with the South Yorkshire station, it’s not in Sheffield, it’s a little bit near Sheffield, but quite near Robin Hood Airport.  When you look at the original plans for the Y-shaped network going up to Newcastle, just south of Newcastle there was a Teeside interchange, very close to the airport.  That’s a question to ask – is HS2 intended as an airport transfer service?  The third runway at Heathrow hasn’t happened and a lot of people who may be disappointed about that.

HS2 will not affect congestion in any significant manner.   As Chris said, fewer then 2% of those driving on motorways are expected to switch to HS2, and that’s if the 267% passenger forecast can be trusted.

Here we have the quote from the Cato industry, again serious research: “High-speed rail proposals are high cost, high-risk megaprojects that promise little or no congestion relief, energy savings, or other environmental benefits.”

Again HS2 is intended to promote new travel.  27% of the passenger forecast for HS2 is coming from new journeys, people who will not travel at all until High Speed 2 is built.  That equates to almost 40,000 people.  And how exactly are they going to get to HS2 in the first place?  HS2 is a railway line almost without stations.  Many of the stations will be outside town.  Birmingham Interchange, which is about a mile and a half, almost two miles from Birmingham International, because the NEC is in the way, the M42 is in the way, it’s not the other side of the motorway, it will have a long monorail.  Birmingham Interchange will have 40,000 parking spaces.

Of course, there are less polluting alternatives.  Rail Package 2 is one, but the obvious thing looking at Norman Baker’s remit which he’s just been given, is not travelling at all.  If Arup, the very firm which has been drafting the plans for HS2 is telling it’s employees not to travel to meetings, but to use video conferencing then surely that is the way things are going to go in the future.  And just to underline that, the canal builders did not know that the railways were coming, the railway builders did not know that the internal combustion engine was coming.  With HS2, the future is already here.  Fifteen years ago, no-one had heard of email outside the academic community.  Now people can not do without it.  In fifteen years time, where exactly are we going to be?  We have already seen that the alternative is here and it is already happening, but the Government are paying absolutely no attention to it whatsoever.  The impact of videoconferencing is not being taken into account.

HS2 will leave an unnecessary scar on our unspoilt countryside,and to paraphase Mark Twain, “don’t destroy land, they’re not making it any more.”  Once its gone, it’s gone forever.

The other point is a lot of people think they know what a railway is.  You’ve stood on railway platforms, you can see how big it is, that’s what you are expecting but that’s not what HS2 represents.  The engineers at the technical seminars last week admitted it’s only going to be 22m fence to fence, as opposed to 25 original .  Now 22m is the same as 6 lanes of road.  Six lanes.  They wouldn’t be pressed on the no vegetation zones, umming and erring about whether they’re going to happen and how big they are going to be, but the technical appendix states that you are looking at 25m of no vegetation zone on either side, because at 250mph trains create a massive wind vortex behind them.  You suck up all the leaves and all the branches and drag them behind so you can’t have that close by.

You are looking at turning from green into grey a 72m wide strip.  Potentionally up to18 lanes of motorway if you want to put it into context, The pitch at Wembley is 69m, less then the 72m.

The best way of describing it is that this is a runway not a railway.  The only difference being is that a runway might be less environmentally damaging.

Click here to hear the presentation in full

So what might the HS2 look like?

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  • So is it just a train line ?
  • What is the big deal ?

High speed rail takes many different forms and one is to elevate the track, below is an image of what this solution may look like on the backdrop of the Tamworth Countryside.