GROWING opposition against HS2 will hopefully lead to a re-think, Stafford’s MP says.
Jeremy Lefroy said there seemed to be a wave of growing opposition, especially from some who previously backed HS2, and he hoped it would lead to the plan being scrapped.
It follows the Institute of Directors calling for the Government to ditch HS2 as it was not worth the money. A survey of members found that just 27 per cent felt the high-speed rail project represented good value for money and 70 per cent said the scheme would have no impact on the productivity of their business.
Sir Anthony Bamford, the chairman of JCB, has also warned that HS2 could drain funds from other vital transport schemes.
And now ex-chancellor Alistair Darling has warned of a potential nightmare on England's existing railways if the multibillion-pound HS2 line is built.
Mr Lefroy told the Newsletter: “It seems that nationally there is growing opposition against the plan as it stands and people.
“My main concern is for my constituents are already being affected by HS2 and are struggling to sell their homes.
“Both the Government and the opposition are saying they will continue with it but it seems more and more people are starting to say we need to look at it again.
“People, such as Alistair Darling, who previously supported HS2 are now beginning to change their minds.
“We don’t necessarily need to scrap the whole idea and we do need to look at additional capacity but I believe we should not simply look at doing a 250-mile high speed route. The more people who come out against it the more likely there will be a change of heart.”
But business leaders in the West Midlands have insisted that the project is an investment that must be made now.
Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group, said: “Costs must be kept in check, and I have every faith that they will be following in our new-found ability to deliver projects like HS1 and London 2012 within budget. Britain desperately needs a new railway and HS2 is the right project at the right time.
“In 2012, 1.5bn train journeys were made, double the number of 20 years before. The West Coast Main Line will be full in a little over 10 years. A third of the most crowded trains in Britain depart from Euston, growth in passengers from London to Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester is predicted to be by 36 per cent, 44 per cent and 50 per cent respectively by 2026.”