Bercow: ‘By every yardstick HS2 fails’

Vale MP John Bercow
Vale MP John Bercow

The Vale’s two MPs have written their response to the Government’s consultation on the environmental impact of HS2.

David Lidington and John Bercow both said their constituents had major concerns about the £42billion train line, which will cut through the district on its way to Birmingham.

Speaker Mr Bercow urged the Government to discontinue with the project altogether.

His response says: “The Draft Environmental Statement fails to assuage any of my concerns and does not change my vociferous opposition to this monstrous project.

“By every yardstick, the HS2 plan fails to meet the test of serving the public interest.

“The cost to the public purse, already obscenely large, is rising exponentially and in an era of austerity it seems extraordinary even 
to countenance such an outlay.

“The mitigations proposed thus far have been very limited and I share the assessment of my constituents that HS2 has not even begun to reckon with the scale of what is required to alleviate the detrimental impact on the area which I represent.”

Europe minister Mr Lidington criticised the short eight-week length of the consultation and the ‘completely unacceptable errors’ in how documents regarding the consultation were distributed.

In his conclusion to his response, he writes: “Clearly if HS2 scheme goes ahead it will have a devastating effect on my constituency and while the draft environmental statement is a welcome step in terms of introducing mitigation measures I expect HS2 Ltd to take into account the views of local people that have been expressed in both my and their own responses and make changes accordingly.”

The Chiltern Conservation Board has also published its response to the consultation, which closed last week.

Comments made by the Board include:

> The impact of noise from construction of the line and trains is not dealt with properly.

> There is little recognition that local businesses will be badly affected.

> The report fails to recognise the historic character of the Chilterns countryside.