Sunday 20 March 2016

Labour decision to back HS2 will anger local campaigners

The Independent, which sadly  publishes its last Sunday edition today, reports that Jeremby Corbyn and John McDonnell, despite earlier opposition, will whip Labour MPs to support the HS2 Bill when it goes to the House of Commons on Tuesday LINK

The newspaper reports that Sir Keir Starmer,  Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras, a fierce opponent of HS2, may be persuaded to support the Bill via a Labour amendment that would protect social housing around Euston and mitigate construction disruption. Starmer was opposed at the General Election by Green Party leader Natalie Bennett. The Greens oppose HS2.

In the  South Kilburn Estate opposition arose when Brent Council who are in favour of HS2,  persuaded HS2 to move a vent shaft to a site right next to St Mary's Primary School on the Estate. LINK 

Pete Firmin gave evidence on behalf of South Kilburn residents to the Select Committee. LINK

Kensal Triangle Residents Association have been vehemently against the project.

Corbyn raised issues around HS2 and its impact on other necessary rail projects as recently as last October LINK  leading to this comment from the Stop HS2 Camapign:

Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin responded:
“It is a breath of fresh air to have a party leader who is actually trying to assess what the real-world implications of HS2 would be, opposed to simply swallowing the spin put forward by proponents. It has been clear since the outset that spending such a vast amount of money on HS2 would only mean other, more deserving projects will be squeezed out, and even the Department for Transport have admitted that HS2 could suck up all the rail investment money.” 

“Following the on-off and now delayed status of some rail upgrades, there is still the Hendy report to come which will surely cut back on other projects. In this climate, we simply cannot see Mr Corbyn getting the guarantee he seeks.”

“With the costs of HS2 set to spiral when they are finally worked out on current prices, there is no way other projects can be guaranteed. We welcome the fact Mr Corbyn is seriously looking at the implications of HS2, and remind him that if he finds the project to be deficient, it can be stopped when the bill comes back for third reading.”


Anonymous said...

HS2 will triple rail capacity on the most congested section of the West Coast Main Line, south of Rugby.

The route chosen is the best option.

South Kilburn can demand mitigation on construction issues, but it has no justification to oppose the whole project.

Meg Howarth said...

A pity, with such a uncompromising pro-HS2 view, that you felt unable to give your name. Anonymity renders your contribution worthless.

Martin Francis said...

An earlier edition of my story suggsted there had been long-term opposition to HS2 on South Kilburn Estate. A resident has been in touch to say the opposition is to the vent shaft being positioned on the estate rather than the HS2 project as such. Some time ago I received comment that there had been little consideration of the impact on South Kilburn compared with Kensal.

Meg Howarth said...

Today, at HS2 vote in House of Commons, Keir Starmer and Tulip Siddiq will ignore Labour's three-line whip.