_________________________________________________________________________HS2 should be scrapped as it is an EU project which we can’t afford and don’t need.Well said Jill.
The HS2 Phase 1 Hybrid Bill has today passed on to the Lords after MPs voted for it 399 to 42. This came the same day as a parliamentary report said there is “a culture of defensive communication and misinformation” within HS2 Ltd and that the body has “a complete disregard for the people who are impacted by this large-scale infrastructure project.”
Despite the fact the Channel Tunnel Hybrid Bill report stage report took over six hours in Parliament, only three hours was allocated for both the report stage when amendments can be debated, as well as third reading itself. This not only meant that many of the amendments were never discussed, but when the third reading debate actually happened, it lasted only 37 minutes, meaning many MPs did not have the chance to speak.
HS2 will now go to the House of Lords, with a petitioning period running from 24th march – 18thApril, and the second reading taking place on 14th April.
Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin responded:
“The day a Parliamentary report says that HS2 Ltd have a culture of defensive communication and misinformation and a complete disregard for people, MPs overwhelmingly vote for this £56bn project with just 37 minutes of debate. There could be no better demonstration of the fact that HS2 is an out of control vanity project and that politicians do not care about things like the facts or social justice, they just care about their careers. We can only hope the House of Lords will not so easily shirk their responsibilities of scrutinizing this white elephant.”
Stop HS2 Chair Penny Gaines added:
“With just 37 minutes given to debate a £56bn project, that works out at over £1.5bn per minute, rushing through spending at a phenomenal rate. One would have hoped that the day a report was published saying there was a culture of misinformation within HS2 Ltd, that MPs would have given this bill more scrutiny, but they have been happy to have the wool pulled over their eyes and vote for this blindly.”
Below is a list of the 42 MPs (actually 44 including the tellers Andrew Bridgen and Mrs Anne Main) who voted against HS2. Conveniently, some on-route Ministers were overseas: Andrea Leadsom (Brazil – see this tweet), Nick Hurd (Tanzania) and David Liddington (Belfast). What happened to Chris Pincher and Jeremy Wright who also did not vote is unknown.
- Baker, Mr Steve
- Baron, Mr John
- Bone, Mr Peter
- Brady, Mr Graham
- Campbell, Mr Ronnie
- Cash, Sir William
- Cunningham, Mr Jim
- Davies, Philip
- Dowd, Jim
- Edwards, Jonathan
- Elliott, Tom
- Fabricant, Michael
- Farrelly, Paul
- Fitzpatrick, Jim
- Flynn, Paul
- Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl
- Grieve, rh Mr Dominic
- Hoey, Kate
- Hollobone, Mr Philip
- Holloway, Mr Adam
- Hopkins, Kelvin
- Lefroy, Jeremy
- Lewis, rh Dr Julian
- Loughton, Tim
- Lucas, Caroline
- McDonnell, Dr Alasdair
- Nuttall, Mr David
- Prentis, Victoria
- Redwood, rh John
- Ritchie, Ms Margaret
- Robertson, Mr Laurence
- Robinson, Mr Geoffrey
- Saville Roberts, Liz
- Sheerman, Mr Barry
- Siddiq, Tulip
- Skinner, Mr Dennis
- Starmer, Keir
- Tracey, Craig
- Turner, Mr Andrew
- Tyrie, rh Mr Andrew
- White, Chris
- Williams, Hywel
You may have noticed that it’s been some time since our last update. We apologise for the long gap between newsletters. 2015 proved to be a difficult and busy time for HAHS2, not least
because of all the HS2 developments but our (very small) committee needed some personal time for health issues along with family and work commitments.
Much of last year was taken up with the preparation and presentation of petitions before the HS2 Select Committee and bringing the new MP for South Ruislip and Uxbridge Boris Johnson, up to speed.
regular news items and notices.
Hillingdon was represented in Parliament by many individuals from across Ruislip,Harefield and Ickenham as well as action groups,resident associations,local councillors and Hillingdon Council itself.
We’d like to thank everyone who was involved. Many hours of often stressful and hard work went into the presentations which made for an incredible contribution from Hillingdon.
Unfortunately our major objective of achieving an extended tunnel from West Ruislip through the Colne Valley was not successful which is incredibly frustrating.
You can read the Committee’s decision HERE
However many of the petitions concentrated on smaller issues and many of these were recognised by The Committee and were given more consideration. Agreements known as assurances and undertakings were
given on a range of issues including construction traffic numbers and routes, timing of utility works and effects on individuals’ homes.
H.O.A.C was a big priority in the Hillingdon petitions and whilst there has been no agreement to save it in it’s current form, there are plans to relocate the facility.This is really disappointing and not the outcome
we or H.O.A.C hoped for.We aim to have updates soon on any progress made.
There were only small concessions made to the mitigation measures we were seeking but we have at least secured the opportunity to continue to have an input into how HS2 is planned – should it ever go ahead.
You can watch a session of the main community petition for Ruislip HERE from 11.10a.m
You can watch a session of the main community petition from Harefield Tenants and Residents Association HERE from 15.14p.m
You can watch a session from the main community petition from Ickenham Residents Association HERE from 9.29 a.m
You can watch a session of some of the Hillingdon Councillors making the case on behalf of residents from across the borough HERE from 15.13p.m
(Please be aware some of these links may take some time to load)
A major development arose from the process. During presentations from Ruislip, HS2Ltd suddenly introduced new information concerning the depth of the proposed tunnel.
For over 3 years we had been led to believe that the tunnel would be 30metres deep under properties, but now we know it could be as little as half that in some areas.
Unfortunately this was revealed after all the Ruislip petitions had been heard.
HAHS2 made a formal complaint to the Chair of the Committee and HS2Ltd’s QC was forced to issue us with an apology.
This however remains a big issue,not least because residents have been misled about tunnel depth and HS2Ltd have yet to give a satisfactory explanation – despite requests and follow up meetings,
but more importantly because it makes a significant difference to the level of vibration and settlement to properties that could occur.
We are very concerned that the HS2Ltd arguments put to, and accepted by The Committee,in rejecting our arguments,were based on inaccurate tunnel depths.
You can watch the session HERE from 9.31a.m where the mistake was acknowledged. It also goes on to feature Nick Hurd MP and Boris Johnson MP and their evidence in the final summing up of all Hillingdon’s petitions.
You can see the guide to settlement that HS2Ltd have produced in response HERE – though this has not been sent to those affected it was simply added to their website.
Read more about the details of what happened HERE
As a result of the first round of petitioning, some amendments have been made to the HS2 Bill and these are known as ‘additional provisions’. We are now up to the 4th set of amendments ( AP4s) and these
petitions for Hillingdon are being heard next week.
You can follow the developments and watch live appearances from residents in Ickenham, Harefield and Hillingdon Council this coming week on Monday 25th January HERE
You can use the same link to keep up with all the remaining petitions from the whole route.
Our fight to extend the Ruislip Tunnel hasn’t ended. HAHS2 will continue to push for this further mitigation and our MPs Nick Hurd and Boris Johnson support our calls for more to be done to protect
our local environment and continue to put pressure on Government.
Once the House of Commons Select Committee have finished hearing all the petitions from the whole route,we have the option to progress our case to The House of Lords.
As you will be aware Boris Johnson has taken over from Sir John Randall as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip. Whilst Boris, as Mayor of London,was already aware of the main issues affecting his constituency and those
affecting Hillingdon as a whole, HAHS2 have made it a priority to establish a good relationship with him so that we can continue to communicate regularly with him on HS2 matters. We have had several meetings with him
the most recent being on January 8th.
You can read about his visit to Ruislip HERE
See a report and photo gallery on the Get West London News site HERE
Each time we meet, we feel he gets a better understanding of all the ongoing concerns we have about HS2 but it would really help, if he’s your MP for you to contact him to keep the pressure on.
Likewise please also keep writing to Nick Hurd MP if you are a constituent in Ickenham or Harefield.
Complaint about HS2Ltd?
If you have had any direct contact or communication with HS2Ltd that you are unhappy about, you have an opportunity to make a complaint.
Please see details HERE submissions must be made by 11th Feb
We have had advance notice form HS2Ltd that they will be holding an information event on 8th March in Ickenham. This will be a one off event to cover the whole of the affected areas including Ruislip and Harefield.
Please save the date and make an effort to come along if you can.
Ickenham Village Hall – Swakeleys Road, Ickenham from 2.00pm – 7.00pm
What Next ?
The next major event on the calendar for 2016 is the Mayoral election in May.
HAHS2 are aiming to meet with all the candidates – as we did last time around! We shall be trying to highlight HS2 as an election issue – but we need your help!
Ways to Help
Please take some time to contact some of the Mayoral candidates and let them know how important an issue HS2 is, and we will aim to keep you updated on their positions.
Labour Sadiq Khan email@example.com @sadiqkhan
Cons Zac Goldsmith firstname.lastname@example.org @ZacGoldsmith
Lib Dem Caroline Pidgeon email@example.com @CarolinePidgeon
Green Sian Berry http://www.sianberry.london/ @sianberry
UKIP Peter Whittle www.peterwhittle.co.uk/contact @prwhittle
Petition to sign
You will all be aware of how catastrophic the flooding in the north of the UK was over the Christmas period.
This latest petition deserves much more attention than it’s getting. Please add your name to it but also share it far and wide with friends,family and work colleagues across the country.
Stop HS2 and Invest in Long Term Flood Defences https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/117184
We are very grateful for all the donations we have received in the past and much of the progress that has been made over the last few years could not have happened without your generosity.
Please do think about making a donation if you can.
If you can contribute in any small way,donations will be gratefully received either by Paypal on our website by clicking the donate button HERE
Or by sending a cheque to Hillingdon Against HS2: 8 Almond Close,Ruislip,HA46EB
You can also help raise funds really easily- FOR FREE! as you do your everyday shopping on-line
Please register HERE
Once again,many thanks for your continued support and interest.
Ruislip and Hillingdon Against HS2
The latest polling on HS2, conducted by YouGov for the Sunday Times, has shown net opposition to the project from every part of the UK, with the overall figures showing just 32% of the population support HS2, whilst 50% oppose it.
Despite George Osborne claiming that HS2 is central to his ‘Northern Powerhouse’ vision, people from the North of England gave the biggest thumbs down to the project, coming out 29% for and 53% against. The other regional breakdowns were: London 35% for, 47% against; the rest of the South 34% for, 50% against; Midlands and Wales 33% for, 48% against; and Scotland 26% for, 48% against. (Full data tables here on Page 6).
Previous polls have shown support for HS2 from Londoners and younger demographics, but as these groups now show net opposition, Liberal-Democrat voters are left as the only set of people giving net approval to of HS2, with 51% of them supporting it whilst 37% are against.
The breakdown among supporters of other political parties is: Conservative 38% for, 48% against; Labour 29% for, 52% against; and UKIP 20% for, 67% against.
The latest YouGov poll is consistent with previous polls from the company, which have seen net opposition to the HS2 project since their survey of January 2013. During that time, the Government has conducted its’ own polling on HS2, but despite releasing earlier results, the Department for Transport has refused to release any information relating to polling which has taken place since May 2013, saying release of the information is against the public interest and the polling relates to policy which is still being developed.
Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin responded:
“Every time the public are asked if they want HS2, there is a resounding no, as it is clear the public have not been bought in by the spin about this project. Unfortunately, like the independent analysts who have scrutinised the case for HS2 and found it to be wanting, it seems what the public think does not matter to a Government wedded to their vanity project.”
“It is telling, that despite the Government trying to make out that HS2 would be a magic wand to heal the North-South divide, it is more unpopular in the North of England than anywhere else in the country, possibly because people there realise it is more important to fix the trains people rely on every day, than to introduce a whizzy service to London for the business elite at an astronomical cost.”
“We have already seen rail electrification projects in the North and Midlands shunted into the sidings because money is too short for them, but there is money to burn when it comes to HS2, and there are sure to be more upgrades shelved for the sake of HS2 when Network Rail report back on project planning in the Autumn. We have always said that ordinary rail projects would have to be cut to pay for HS2, which will need around £4bn per year during construction. We are now seeing these cuts, there will be more to come, and HS2 will get more unpopular as this goes on.”
Penny Gaines, Chair of Stop HS2, said
“The message from this YouGov poll is clear, that more people are opposed to HS2 than want it built. We know the Government knew this already, as they have commissioned their own polls on HS2 but refuse to publish the results. The Government know HS2 is unpopular, they know people would prefer better local railways, but they have stopped work on Trans-Pennine and Midland Mainline electrification which would benefit people far sooner and more cheaply than the £50 billion HS2, and there will certainly be more projects that never make it off the drawing board because of the sheer amount of money needed for HS2.”
Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin has been in Leeds today, spinning his heart out to relaunch HS2 yet again, even claiming that being at least a year late when he eventually announces the final Phase 2 route, he will actually be early! Despite it seeming that what swung the election being fear of an SNP-Labour agreement in Government, at least south of the border, he claimed that the result was a massive vote of confidence for HS2 and therefore the argument had been won.
This was one of many gems in an Orwellian “War is Peace” style of speech. Mr McLoughlin was certain that HS2 still has cross party support, which seems to suggest he has missed that the third party at Westminster are now the SNP, and that they don’t seem particularly happy about what is going on with HS2, or the very real possibility that Labour may elect an HS2 sceptic as leader. In his speech, he stated that “Controversy needn’t be a sign that the decisions you’ve taken are wrong”, so if all this were indeed the case, it seems bizarre that he has no intention of releasing reports from the Major Projects Authority which have assessed how well (badly) HS2 is going or updating the current projected costs. If the argument has been won, there should be no issue is releasing this data.
Whilst the author of the now infamous KPMG admitted that HS2 would not create jobs, but move them around, Mr McLoughlin stuck by his claims that only 3 in 10 of the jobs created by HS2 would be in London. He of course neglected to mention that these jobs forecast to be ‘created’ are the handful of low-paid jobs predicted to be created by Burger King, WH Smith and the like at the stations, and have nothing to do with the supposed spin-off benefits of the project.
The oddest thing he said was that he wanted to get Phase 2 ready quicker than planned, with an announcement on the route due out in ‘autumn’, with the idea being that a standalone bill could be presented ‘soon’ just for the Lichfield-Crewe stretch of Phase 2 (though sources have told Stop HS2 that the DfT were still considering doing this part of the route as an Additional Provision to the Phase 1 Bill as recently as two weeks ago). In stating this, Mr McLoughlin seems to again pre-empted his decision (one he keeps claiming he hasn’t made) about whether HS2 should go to Crewe or Stoke-on-Trent.
His statement about the route being announced in ‘autmun’ is odd of course because history tells us that when it comes to the Phase 2, HS2 Ltd seems to have a very flexible definition of “autumn”.
The Phase 2 route consultation ended in January 2014 and back then, we were expecting an announcement in ‘autumn’. Well, it now seems this was always true, it’s just that HS2 Ltd and the DfT didn’t specify which autumn it would be!
Two separate freedom of information requests have revealed that the UK Government does not have a current cost estimate for the HS2 project, and does not intend to create one. Whilst it is often reported that the HS2 project has an estimated cost of £50bn, that figure is still based on prices as they were in 2011. As such, Independent Chiltern District Councillor Seb Berry submitted this freedom of information request to both HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport:
“The estimated £50 billion cost of HS2 (including both phases, rolling stock and contingency) is always expressed in 2011 prices, but what is your latest estimate of the current cost of the scheme in 2015 prices?”
Whilst Councillor Berry received an overdue reply from HS2 Ltd which simply stated “We do not hold this information”, the Department for Transport arrogantly dismissed the need to know where the costs are, with their HS2 briefing and correspondence manager stating:
“I am writing to advise you that following a thorough search of our paper and electronic records, I have established that the information you requested is not held by this Department because we have no business need to estimate the cost of HS2 in 2015 prices.”
Councillor Berry responded:
“It beggars belief that Ministers don’t know what the current price tag of HS2 is. Surely the DfT must know the answer to this most basic of questions? In their own PR terms it’s obviously better for Government and HS2 Ltd to keep using the lower 2011 prices figure, a fact rarely, if ever, explained in media coverage of the scheme. With each passing year however, the government’s failure to confirm the cost in current prices begins to look like deliberate misinformation rather than convenient spin.”
Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin added:
“The arrogance from the Department for Transport, not just that they don’t know the current price of HS2, but that they don’t see any need to know what it is, is both astounding and completely irresponsible. You would have thought that the Government might think that the effect of inflation, especially when construction wage inflation was four times that of average wages and three times general inflation last year*, is important when they started with a cost of £32bn in 2010 and are already up to £50bn. The Government’s own figures for public sector construction show that the cost of contracts went up by 13% between 2011 and 2014, but they are choosing not to apply this fact to the cost of HS2, because it will damage the case for their vanity project.”
Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2, said
“With spending on HS2 expected to be several billion a year in the next few years, it is inconceivable that they do not keep track of the expected costs to the British taxpayer. If they don’t know what things should cost in current terms at a time when they are negotiating contracts with suppliers, they will never be able to keep control of the budget in the future. There is just too great a potential for errors and massive overspends.”
“David Higgins tried to find ways of reducing costs when he was appointed chair of HS2. Not only did he completely fail, but he found the only way to stop the costs from skyrocketing was to ditch the proposed links to Heathrow and HS1. HS2 is vastly expensive, at the bottom of most people’s wish lists, and should be cancelled as soon as possible.”
*In November 2014 the Office for National Statistics reported that average wage inflation was 0.9%, whilst in the construction sector it was 3.6%. The average salary for a Project Manager was up by over 10%. The CPI measure of general inflation was at 1.2%.