ANTI-HS2 campaigners are hopeful extra pressure being placed on the Government will offer a ‘glimmer of hope’ in their fight to see the £33bn rail link plans quashed.
Following a string of poor local election results for the coalition, a group of 20 backbench MPs are believed to be calling on them to shelve the proposals for the route through the Chilterns prior to a Hybrid Bill being put before Parliament next year.
Over the Bank Holiday weekend the national media speculated on the pressure ahead of the Queen’s Speech taking place yesterday (Wednesday), in which HS2 was not included, delaying the proposal for another year.
The route, which will run from London to Birmingham initially and then on to Manchester and Leeds, would open in 2026 if it got the go-ahead.
Jo Rukin, Stop HS2 campaign coordinator, said: “I think the Telegraph has used its article to put more pressure on the Tories as they’ve always been against HS2.
“With the poor elections results and turnout, they’re under real pressure and there’s also pressure coming from the backbenchers with a group of 20 having an anti-HS2 manifesto – they agree with us about the poor business and environmental case and the fact it’s just a rich man’s toy. It’s good to see this extra pressure and hopefully the Government will take notice.”
Stop HS2 Amersham Action Group chairman Nigel Shepherd said: “HS2 [Ltd] was always going to concentrate on the environmental impact assessment this year.
“It was never going to be in the Queen’s Speech.
“A good thing that came out of the publicity is the growing opposition from backbenchers has been made known – the fact that has come out in the open is a good thing.”
Chiltern District Councillor Isobel Darby, who represents Gold Hill and lives in Chalfont St Peter, said: “The fact it’s not in the speech is for reasons best known to themselves and the fact they’re not going ahead with it (in this parliamentary session) does offer a glimmer of hope, but in reality I’m not going to get too over-excited by it.”