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Campaigners say Government's HS2 claims are 'desperate'
CLAIMS that a controversial high speed rail link are crucial to meet the UK’s transport needs have been dubbed as ‘as expected’ and ‘desperate’ by anti HS2 campaigners.
In a statement from the Department for Transport yesterday, Tuesday, the government claims that Britain cannot meet its future transport needs without the £50bn project but Pickmere stud owner John Keleher believes the government is once again failing to look at all of the options.
The Strategic Case for HS2 sets out in detail the need for a new railway line to provide the vitally needed extra capacity.
Central to the case is new data that reveals the true extend of the crisis facing the UK rail network and the impact alternatives to building HS2 would have.
The document outlines how demand for rail travel will continue to grow while research by Network Rail and Atkins shows that the alternative would result in up to 14 years of weekend closures on existing lines and deliver only a fraction of the additional capacity.
Secretary of State for transport Patrick McLoughlin said: “We need a radical solution and HS2 is it. A patch and mend job will not do – the only option is a new north south railway.
“HS2 brings massive benefits to the north, is great for commuters and the alternatives just don’t stack up.
“Now is the time to be bold and deliver a world class railway which Britain deserves and can truly be proud of. Future generations will not forgive us if we fail to take this opportunity.”
Despite claims HS2 will deliver an estimated annual boost of up to £15bn to the economy, Mr Keleher -whose Pickmere farm will be cut in two by the proposed HS2 route – said: “Once again the government is massaging the figures of HS2 to produce a fifth upgrade of it to try and prove that it is a good thing and is going to be a benefit.
“They are not taking into account all of the negatives of HS2 and are disregarding the costs that come with it.
“It is going to take out hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland, reduce agricultural production, destroy farm and rural businesses and is going to cost people their jobs.
“All the government has done is draw a line on a map and ignore all other factors.
“The business case is still flawed and will remain flawed until they put all of the negative factors down against the positives.
“14 years of weekend closures to upgrade West Coast Main Line versus 20 years of HS2 destruction, chaos, blight affecting 500,000 homes, over 1,000,000 people.”
Joe Rukin, campaign manager for Stop HS2 added: “It is really quite sad that government think throwing everything at an expensive PR exercise will all of a sudden create support for HS2. They are just looking increasingly desperate and should give up.”
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