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Stafford MP will oppose HS2

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: February 18, 2013

Comments (13)

STAFFORD’S MP will confront the Transport Secretary with residents' concerns over a high speed rail line set to cut a swathe through the constituency.


Jeremy Lefroy said he will meet Patrick McLoughlin on February 27 and register his opposition to the plans making the argument the business case for HS2 does not stack up.

“Since the announcement of the HS2 Phase 2 line, I have been studying the business case for the whole line and I have come to the conclusion that it does not add up,” said Mr Lefroy. “Whether I look at the projected passenger numbers or the budgeted costs, I see major flaws.

“There is, for instance, little account taken of work done by passengers on trains at the moment.”

Mr Lefroy said it was assumed much of the gain from HS2 would be additional time available for work whereas, in practice, many people already use travel time on the West Coast Main Line to work.

“Passenger numbers are notoriously difficult to predict,” he said. “HS1 (London to the channel Tunnel) is currently running at significantly less than the forecasted demand.”

Mr Lefroy said at present his main aim, along with other concerned colleagues whose own constituencies would be affected by the plans, was to ensure the compensation arrangements for those affected were fair, transparent and that more mitigation in the form of tunnelling and noise abatement was included.

“I know that this situation is very distressing for those residents affected and I will continue to do all I can to help.”

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  • Staf Newsletter  |  March 13 2013, 3:21PM

    RolfePearce1 I bow to your superior knowledge about timetables in twenty years time of course. In connection with the broader issues perhaps you would comment on the view of the Chambers of Commerce recently. The UK Chambers of Trade said on March 10 "Business communities across the United Kingdom back High Speed 2 for a clear and practical reason. The simple fact is that Britain's railway network, which has seen record passenger and freight use in recent years, is running out of capacity. Without HS2, which would treble capacity, overcrowding will get worse, fares will rise, and delays will become even more common. Chambers of commerce around the country continue to back the development of a full, national high-speed rail network without further delay. As with any infrastructure project, they want to see it delivered on time, on budget, and complemented by sustained investment in conventional rail and road infrastructure. That would ensure that business communities everywhere continue to get good-quality connections both for passengers and freight, whether on a high-speed line or not. Dr Adam Marshall - the British Chambers of Commerce (www.britishchambers.org.uk) I am not living in a "Bubble" here in Barlaston. We enjoy the connectivity of the rail network from Stoke, Stafford and Stone but pay a substantial price in a gridlock around our level crossings. There is always a price to pay! Please consider the well being of future generations in your campaign that seems to concentrate on present bizarre property prices. Our children will probably rarely experience such good luck due to this generations opposition to sustainable development.

  • Staf Newsletter  |  March 07 2013, 7:44PM

    JohnRussell40 as ever you are living in your own little "Barlaston Bubble". I hope you your children and your grand children can afford the 20% on top of the current pendalino fares, I know none of my family will be able to afford to go on the line. You also mention the stop in Stafford but fail to mention to everyone that Stoke will lose a stop on the line to keep the speed up despite the fact that twice the amount of people in Stoke use the line than in Stafford. This will mean that commuters from Stoke will be crammed on to one service per hour instead of the now two stops. This kind of useless planning is just typical of HS2 Ltd who seem to be more and more incompetent each day. I am sure you have heard that the courts have just made a judgement against them regarding the underhand way they deal with those ordinary tax payers who are blighted by your beautiful project. The Judge said that they had to come clean and admit that the compensation scheme is far from Generous as the government says but is actually only paying out to just 2% of applicants. In Staffordshire alone it is estimated that £500,000,000 will be wiped off ordinary peoples savings and investments so that you can get to london 20 mins earlier. As ever Mr Russell you are wrong on the facts, wrong in your picking of facts to suit your own case, and wrong to dismiss the misery so easily of those blighted by this project.

  • Staf Newsletter  |  March 05 2013, 10:24AM

    Rolfe Pearce I hope you are watching "The Railways" on BBC2 tonight as this episode is about the West Coast Mainline. Part of this line is the Pendolino service linking London to Manchester that links Colwich Junction to Stoke via Barlaston. Contrary to your statement I see that this line will connect to HS2 Phase 2 at Armitage so Stoke and Stafford passengers will be linked on to an alternative route to London. Hopefully the disastrous failure of the overhead system last week, due to wear and tear, that brought the WCML to a juddering halt will be averted in future by the sensible investment now. Your assessment of national finances and priorities seems to be unduly influenced by the Rolfe Pearce retirement fund. Have you not heard of "Crossrail" which is the biggest engineering project in Europe? Now that will, mainly, benefit Londoners and the south-east. The HS2 scheme will benefit the whole country and particularly our grandchildren.

  • Staf Newsletter  |  March 03 2013, 4:33PM

    JohnRussell40 How can we possibly compare a brand new train running through the entire country with what happened in Barlaston....not much of a real comparison here. There are no proven jobs for Staffordshire at all now that HS2 is not stopping here. The environmental case, well a new railway running through pristine green belt and country side with heavy construction for 10-15 years no case there then. Can we afford 34 billion, that the government will have to BORROW no we can't, triple dip recession, Loss of the triple A rating cuts in the NHS DEFENCE and for the disabled, so we just cannot afford this. The poor people of Staffordshire who have had their life saving and investments devalued by up to £50,000 should be the priority not a rich mans railway we cant afford, will rip the heart from the Staffordshire countryside to get businessmen from Manchester to London 20 mins sooner. HS2 is JUST BONKERS

  • Staf Newsletter  |  March 01 2013, 3:58PM

    Benefits of HS2 If I can respond to Algorithm27 who made very similar points to three correspondents in the Newsletter last week. I replied as follows:- I first of all hope that Freda, and Christine will read Sally's comments, which sound as though she actually uses the railway. As an infrequent user, I too am astonished at the miserable experience of travelling at peak times. How working people put up, so stoically, with the overcrowding and poor chance of a high priced seat, after a hard days work, is amazing. So, capacity is clearly an issue; we need more trains and as the tracks are already busy we need new tracks. Sally compares our forlorn system to that in Europe and indirectly praises the foresight that produced such a superior system. She forgets the cost to all those affected, as she travels in comfort, on time, past all the blighted neighbours and desecrated environment. How did they feel as these tracks took their homes and countryside? Freda will perhaps recognise now, that something must be done and, I hope, recognise that only a new track can meet the need. She says that £32billion is an obscene figure, but should accept that it will be spread over a very long period. We do not need to borrow all that tomorrow! As she lives in Little Haywood, I assume she remembers the shambles when Railtrack tried to upgrade the Colwich to Manchester line. Here in Barlaston we saw that the engineers could only get possession of the track for a few hours each night before handing it back for the first trains of the day. After billions wasted, they finally closed the line for over a year, and everyone went by bus, until the job was completed. Can we possibly contemplate closing down lines with such increased passenger numbers today? Only the most self centred property owner would say that there will be no benefit to the nation as a whole, and to our grandchildren in particular, from a modern line. How can Freda say that a better railway service will only benefit Londoners? I am very grateful that Staffordshire is already so well served by the West Coast Main Line because of the investment made by previous generations. I am sure many people have chosen to live here because of the rail and transport facilities that make it easy to travel around the country but they should not be surprised that this transport corridor is still attractive to rail engineers. They apparently chose the Trent valley and Stafford By-pass after considering over 300 possible routes. As for Freda's argument that there will be no need to attend meetings in 20 years time because computers will be so wonderful, I wish it were so. Such faith in technology is touching, but nothing matches eye to eye contact when making a deal. I also really smile when HS2 opponents seem to think their computers will somehow be able to put food on the table! Only a modern rail transport system, with an increased freight capacity, will be able to deliver essential food around the country when road freight will be affected by the price of diesel. Also, think how a fast reliable rail service will reduce the need for internal air travel. Those poor unfortunates under airport flight paths might consider it a blessing. I am glad that Freda points out the huge employment opportunities for Staffordshire. If our own young people cannot take advantage of this project, then it will be their fault that they allow foreign workers to take the jobs. It would be a great pity, but, hardly a reason, to campaign against a project supported by all the major political parties and vital to our grandchildren. Our successors will have to survive with an increased population, food shortages and climate change. We should think of them rather than our own, present, minor problems.

  • Staf Newsletter  |  March 01 2013, 1:11AM

    Jeremy opposes 35 billion to be spent on HS2 however a fraction of that cash would save Stafford Hospital. Monitor the government quango CAN be opposed with a local referendum, SAVE STAFFORD HOSPITAL Sign the petition today http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44998

  • Staf Newsletter  |  February 22 2013, 3:20PM

    Rolfe Pearce 1 Everyone accepts the devastating blow this must have been to many householders, such as yourself. Think however, more thoughtfully, of the generations to come. You face financial hardship, but they need to have a future in which they can be assured of life itself. People of my retired generation have been very fortunate with jobs, pensions, property but we are not leaving much for our grandchildren. I agree with many that the compensation arrangements are not as good as they should be. I suggest you raise that matter with your MP. My MP, Bill Cash inexplicably claimed that the route of HS2 was a "Bolt from the Blue"! He was unaware of plans for a Stafford Rail By-pass! And, as the MP for Stone, which stretches from the Derbyshire border to the Shropshire border, he did not prepare for a scenario in which a track, that must get from Lichfield to Manchester, might not come through his constituency! All those years, in opposition, as the Shadow Attoney General might have been better spent in improving the compensation scheme instead of trying to detach us from the EU.

  • Staf Newsletter  |  February 22 2013, 2:47PM

    MR Blobby, Re Bio Diesel, I attended a seminar last week at Telford within the Renewable Energy Show. The speakers were discussing how they saw the future of HGV's and Tractors and all other farming machinery. They acknowledged the question mark over sustainable supplies of crude oil for a developing world. Sadly no major manufacturer has managed to design a diesel engine that can cope with bio-diesel. The chip fat product is not stable at the pressures used. The best guess was that methane [natural gas] was the best option. Every vehicle would need CNG [Compressed Natural Gas] tanks that would need a national distribution system for the transport industry and each farmer probably able to generate their own supplies in anaerobic digesters. The investment costs for a switch from diesel to CNG would be huge, but essential, if new oil reserves are not found and developed very quickly. As we have been warned, only this week, we must buy our natural gas for heating, electricity and fertiliser in a world market so, in spite of shale gas, we can expect that prices will rise and rise. As for the efficiency of High Speed trains you may well be right but they are infinitely more efficient than airplanes which hopefully they will replace for all internal flights. Again you seem to forget that petrol and diesel cars will still require enormous amounts of crude oil. The price of fuel is clearly, already causing a switch from road to rail, creating the capacity problems that HS2 will relieve.

  • Offa1  |  February 20 2013, 12:16PM

    Jeremy Lefroy - thank you for starting to find out about the reality of HS2. The holes in the 'business case' are just some of the gaping holes behind the HS2 case. You point to more of them ie that it will be possible to mitigate the impacts - to get a better line through consultation and to compensate those who lose out. In ABSTRACT all of these are possible but can I suggest you contact the MPs down south who have been trying this approach for 3 years? MPs like Jeremy Wright in Warwickshire will tell you that the Government/HS2Ltd have completely ignored consultation both locally and nationally; the Community Forums are tokenism at its worst; the impact of the line in Warwickshire is getting steadily WORSE not better; and the compensation proposals are completely inadequate. Suggest you read the HS2aa website for details on this. You will hear the Government/ HS2Ltd say that 'in any large infrastructure scheme there are winners and losers'. So that's OK then??? Your constituents are fundamentally 'collateral damage' and they will be paying for HS2 through massive housing blight as well as through their taxes - and in many cases cannot now move whether they want to or need to; and will have to live through not only 20 years of uncertainty and the huge impact of the construction phase, but also the noise impact from HS2 when it is running and the loss of amenities. Do you think this will lose you votes or do you think this will lose you votes?

  • MrBlobby  |  February 20 2013, 11:56AM

    What a shame JohnRusell40 hasn't heard of bio-diesel! How about vehicles run off old chip fat. For such technologies though we need land to grow the crop. How much farm land, and how many farms is HS2 to put out of operation? With a growing population in this country we need to secure our own food production and we also need to assure water security at a time when our climate is changing. HS2 is not a clean and efficient project. The trains will use 3 times more electricity than Virgin trains, twice as much as Eurostar. And how much of that electricity is "clean"? And let's face it how many road journeys is HS2 really going to eradicate? The projection is 8% of those travelling from London to Birmingham. We should be investing in our existing infrastructure to make sure it is a productive and efficient as it possibly and looking at local transport rather than glib political spin.