HS2: The nation says NO

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ANTI HS2 campaigners are claiming ‘the country is with us’ after a new poll showed two thirds of people oppose the controversial rail link – and the official protest record looks set to enter the Top 40.

By Wednesday the HS2 protest single had reached number four in HMV’s digital download charts – selling more copies than Coldplay, Bruno Mars and the 2011 X Factor finalists.

The protest record, by Bucks band Dirty Mavis, can be downloaded for 79p, and the Stop HS2 campaign group is urging every opponent of the scheme to buy it.

It is called Oak Tree Lament (Did you Stop the HS2).

Meanwhile this week a YouGov poll found 64 per cent of the public is against the controversial £32 billion scheme.

The final decision on HS2 is expected towards the end of January,.

The poll showed the plans are opposed by 66 per cent of traditional Labour voters, 68 per cent of Liberal Democrat voters and 59 per cent of Conservative voters.

The poll was commissioned by anti-HS2 groups.

Richard Houghton, who helped carry out the research, said: “While supporters of HS2 believe that it will help close the North-South divide both regions are already united in their opposition to it.

“62 per cent of Northern respondents, 64 per cent of those surveyed in London and 66 per cent of respondents in the South think that it is wrong to spend money on it at the current time.

“Despite the Scottish government’s enthusiasm for the line, 70 per cent of Scottish respondents are opposed to HS2, which will cost UK taxpayers £773 million in planning and consultants in the current Parliament alone.

“Perhaps most interestingly, respondents from the Midlands and Wales, the region that takes in Birmingham where the phase of the line will terminate, came out 64 per cent in favour of shelving spending on the project.

“The news does not get any better for proponents of the line when opposition is split by gender, with 71 per cent of women against the environmentally damaging project.

Jerry Marshall, chairman of the Federation of Action Groups Against HS2, said: “The tide has turned, and HS2 is now opposed by voters across all party lines.

“It is clearly the wrong priority in the eyes of the majority of the public, with only a quarter of the population still supporting it.

“It is time for the government to think again and tackle our country’s real transport priorities.”

Penny Gaines, of Quainton, social media director of Stop HS2, said: “It is clear the project is bad and will be a disaster for the country.

“The HS2 proposal on the table is not the right way ahead.

“This survey just shows that people have been looking into the issue and making up their own minds.”

“I am also really grateful to all the people who have been buying the protest record.”