Since January, 2012 when the Government announced its decision to proceed with High Speed 2 (HS2) linking London and Birmingham, later extending to Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh and Glasgow, 51m has been challenging the project.
Great concern over HS2 continues to grow. The business case is seriously flawed and represents very poor value for money to the taxpayer. It will make a minimal contribution to the country’s carbon reduction target and the environmental impact will be devastating. Above all, the country cannot afford it. While we struggle with the worst recession in peace-time, HS2 at the time was estimated to cost £33 billion.
’51m’ is an alliance of councils that has come together to challenge the evidence base about the HS2 project. They are known as “51m” because that represents how much HS2 will cost each and every Parliamentary Constituency…£51million.
In the House of Commons on 26 June, 2013 the Secretary of State for Transport revealed a revised figure for the project of £42.6 billion.This figure does not include £7.5 billion for rolling stock.
In opposing the project 51m is joined by a growing number of organisations and transport experts. The Institute of Directors referred to HS2 as a “grand folly” . The Public Accounts Committee said the Department for Transport had failed to present a convincing strategic case for a project with dwindling benefits and spiralling costs. In a report published in October, 2013 the Treasury Select Committee said there were “serious shortcomings” in the current cost-benefit analysis for HS2.
A report commissioned by the Goverment revealed that HS2 would make more than 50 places across the UK worse off – such as Aberdeen, Bristol and Cardiff.
In November, 2013 a report from the CentreForum think tank said, “pet projects such as HS2 should be canned. We can’t afford them. Smaller less glamorous projects will give us better results, and we’ll get them much faster and more cheaply.”
The Government continues to resist publishing the critical assessment of HS2 made by the Cabinet Office’s Major Projects Authority over two years ago. In January, 2014 Ministers blocked the release of the report by over-ruling a decision by the freedom of information watchdog that it should be disclosed to campaigners.
HS2 Phase 1 Environmental Statement Consultation
To read the 51m final response to the Environmental Statement Consultation click on the following link 51m Final ES Consultation Response – 27 February 2014.
To read the Bucks Councils final response click on the following link Buckinghamshire Councils ES final response HS2 Phase 1
To read the Legal Advice on the Noise Impact Assessment click on the following link Legal advice Noise-1
To read the Buckinghamshire Mitigation Blueprint for HS2 click on the following link HS2 ES blueprint 24Feb14
51m Response to the Phase 2 Consultation (Y Route)
To read the response to the HS2 Phase 2 Consultation on the Route from the West Midlands to Manchester, Leeds and beyond click on hs2 Y consultation response final
The HS2 Ltd/KPMG Report
‘A Desparate Attempt to Justify a Seriously Flawed Project’
To read the statement from 51m click on – 51m kpmg report
The part of the report identifying the cities and towns that will lose out economically as a result of HS2 was not published and only came to light following an FOI request. Jonathan Isaby, political director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It’s utterly dishonest for the Government to have spent £250,000 of taxpayers’ money on a report and then to release only cherry-picked findings. This is further evidence, if it were needed, that the KPMG report was a taxpayer-funded propaganda exercise. Sadly, HS2 bosses have a track record of using dodgy numbers in an attempt to justify the white elephant’s hefty price tag. It’s time to scrap this project before any more taxpayers’ money is wasted on its construction or its expensive PR.”
51m continues to challenge the case for HS2. It urges all residents, wherever they live, to let their MP know how they feel about HS2. Use our ‘Write to your MP‘ link at the top of the page to find out who your MP is and how to contact them.
Questions to ask your MP
click on – Ten question
‘Jobs and Growth Now’ The 51m Alternative Investment Challenge to HS2
Alternative ways of spending the £50 billion, earmarked for HS2, on schemes which will bring more immediate economic benefits across the UK are outlined in a document published by 51m, the cross-party alliance of 19 local authorities opposing the controversial rail project.
In ‘Alternative Investment Strategy for Jobs and Growth’ 51m sets out in detail how the £50 billion cost for HS2’s track and trains could be better targeted to bring faster, higher value economic benefits across the entire country. To read the full statement click here 51m statement
Environmental Audit Committee – HS2 and the environment
To read the report click on Environmental Audit Committee’s Report.
To read the press release click on Env Audit SC Press notice
Property Compensation Consultation
To read the response submitted by by 51m click on 51m Final Draft Property Compensation Consultation
To read the response submitted by Buckinghamshire County Council click on BCC Property Compensation Consulation 2013