Summit slams HS2 as ‘criminal waste of money’

Artist's impression of HS2 viaduct
Artist's impression of HS2 viaduct

Where to go next in the battle against HS2 has been debated at a high-level summit in Aylesbury today.

The conference, held at Aylesbury Vale District Council’s offices in Gatehouse Road, was attended by more than 100 people from 19 local authorities who were addressed by the key figures of the alliance against the line, which would cut through Bucks.

District council boss Neil Blake opened the summit by saying: “This project has perversely brought us closer together as a community.

“But I think we all know it is not too late to stop this flawed proposal.”

MPs approved funding to prepare for the high-speed rail network last week and rejected a plan b blueprint from the alliance.

But the main hybrid bill is due to be lodged with parliament before the end of the year, with a vote on it sometime in the spring.

Martin Tett. county council leader and chairman of the 51m alliance of authorities against the scheme, said the £42 billion rail line, which could open in 2026, will not stand up against robust examination.

He was angry that the government has rejected their alternative schemes to improve transport by using the money on other smaller-scale projects.

He said: “Opposition is now spreading far and wide for what is a criminal waste of taxpayers’s money.

“The government’s dismissal of our proposal is an act of desperation. This is nothing bu a vanity project.”

Several senior Labour figures including Lord Mandelson have recently suggested that the cost of construction, set to commence in 2017, will suck money away from other infrastructure.

Also speaking at the summit advisor to the county council Marcus Rogers condemned KPMG’s recent ecomomical impact report, which he said overstated the business benefits of the train line.

HS2 plan to build train lines between Birmingham and London Euston and then a V-shaped second phase of tracks from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester.