'We're Not Nimbys' Say Opponents To High-Speed Rail Link

'We're Not Nimbys' Say High-Speed Rail Opponents

Construction of a £34bn, 250mph high-speed rail link from London to Birmingham and northern England will close key stations and slash rush-hour services, campaigners told the Transport Committee on Tuesday.

Opponents said High Speed Two (HS2) would not provide a return on investment, and insisted that they were not simply opposing the plan because of the local disruption its construction would cause.

HS2 would cut journey times between London and Birmingham by 35 minutes if opened as planned in 2026. A further extension of the line to Leeds, Manchester and eventually Glasgow have also been mooted.

David Begg, director of the Campaign for High Speed Rail, has said that HS2 would "boost investment, create jobs and make people's lives better".

Evidence presented at the hearing from HS2 Ltd claimed that evening services from Euston would have to be cut by up to 40 per cent during development of the service.

Jerry Marshall, who is chairman of Action Groups Against High Speed Two ('Aghast') said that there was no outstanding business case for HS2.

"There is a lot of investment in roads that isn't being done now and needs to be done," Marshall said. "Ring fencing a huge quantity of that capital to put into a low-return investment in our rails doesn't make sense and is not in the national interest."

Marshall added: "It's not that we shouldn't be investing rail, it's that we have a limited amount of money and we have to spend that where it's most useful."

Lord Wolfson, who is chief executive of Next, appeared as an individual opposed to the plan, and said: "My opposition has nothing to do with Ludditism of Nimbyism."

He added: "The question is: 'Is this a top priority for UK investment?'. The answer is 'No'."


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