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About 51m

51m is a group of 17 local authorities that has joined together in a national campaign to actively challenge the HS2 rail project. The group is known as “51m” because that represents how much HS2 will cost each and every Parliamentary Constituency…£51million.

This figure was based on a project cost of £33 billion; in June, 2013 this was increased by the Government to £42.6 billion. In November, 2015 the estimate was further revised to £55.7bn. The project will also trigger Barnett formula payments to Northern Ireland and Scotland amounting to £7.4bn, taking the overall figure to £63.1bn.

The group seeks to emphasise the impact this proposed scheme will have on every taxpayer in the country for years to come.

Which councils are involved?

  • Buckinghamshire County Council
  • Aylesbury Vale District Council
  • Chiltern District Council
  • South Bucks District Council
  • Wycombe District Council
  • London Borough of Hillingdon
  • Oxfordshire County Council
  • Cherwell District Council, Oxfordshire
  • Lichfield District Council, Staffordshire
  • South Northamptonshire Council
  • Warwick District Council
  • North Warwickshire Borough Council
  • Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Warwickshire
  • Three Rivers District Council, Hertfordshire
  • Coventry City Council
  • London Borough of Camden
  • Stafford Borough Council

The 51m Position Statement

Each of the councils has signed up to the following position statement:

“The authorities have come together to oppose the current proposals for the high speed rail scheme known as HS2.

We do not believe that the business case stacks up and therefore cannot support the route suggested by Government and strongly object to the proposals.

We are opposed to the current High Speed rail proposals and do not believe that they are in the best interests of the UK as a whole in terms of the benefits claimed in the business case.

We are not opposed to the need for higher speed rail per se and fully acknowledge the need for strategic improvement to the national rail infrastructure but cannot agree with the current proposals as the economic and environmental benefits are not at all credible.

We do not believe that all the other alternatives to achieve the transport capacity, regeneration and environmental benefits have been fully explored by the Government and with expenditure, in excess of £55bn being proposed, we owe it to the nation to ensure these are fully explored.”

The decision to proceed

In January, 2012 the Government formally approved HS2 and a hybrid bill was subsequently published. The Third Reading of the Bill was approved by the House of Commons in March, 2016. Since then consideration has passed to the House of Lords.

51m has continued to challenge the Government and also sought to seek adequate compensation for its residents and robust mitigation plans

In our view, the cost of compensation and mitigation measures represent an essential price the Government must pay.

‘Jobs and Growth Now’ the 51m Alternative Investment Challenge to HS2

In September, 2013 51m published an alternative investment proposal.

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 18 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 


If you have any questions or comments please email 51m@buckscc.gov.uk


The 51m Submission to the Transport Select Committee

In May, 2011 51m made a joint submission to the Transport Select Committee which considered HS2 at oral evidence sessions in June, July and September. You can read the submission document in full by visiting the Select Committee page on this website.

Please click here to read the Overview Chapter of the submission.  The report of Transport Select Committee was published on 8 November.

The 51m Response to the National Consultation

In July, 2011 51m made a joint submission in response to the national consultation exercise on high speed rail. You can read the full submission document and appendices by visiting the Home Page.

Please click here to read the submission section.

Parish Councils Affiliated to 51m

52 towns and parishes have affiliated to date. To read the full list click on briefing parish councils 25 mar 2014

Contact us/media enquiries

If you would like to contact 51m please email: 51m@buckscc.gov.uk

If you have a media enquiry about 51m please call Rachel Prance on 01494 732903 or email: rprance@chiltern.gov.uk



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