The only news website
dedicated to Lichfield & Burntwood

Lichfield MP calls for high-speed rail line plan to be scrapped

Lichfield’s MP has urged the Government to scrap plans for the HS2 high-speed rail project.

The scheme – which was drawn up by the previous Labour administration – would see the new line cut through parts of Lichfield.

No firm details about the future of the project have yet been given by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, but Tory MP Michael Fabricant has called for the scheme to be kept on ice permanently.

His comments came in a letter to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander MP, who is currently heading up the Treasury Team reviewing Government expenditure and seeking cost savings.

In his letter, Mr Fabricant said:

“The plans for the new High Speed train service (HS2) take it across Lichfield on a high flyover blighting a large part of the eastern side of the historic city.  The environmental damage across Staffordshire and other parts of the United Kingdom will be considerable.

“I understand that studies demonstrate there will be very little transfer from air to rail on completion of the HS2.  Locally, the service will not stop in Lichfield and it will be quicker to commute using the Virgin Pendolino services than taking a train into Birmingham , changing stations, and then catching an HS2 service.

“Although I realise that the bulk of expenditure on the HS2 line construction is several years hence, funds will still be needed over the coming years to fund planning inquires and other advance operations. I hope that the Treasury will examine the HS2 proposals and consider putting them on ice for the foreseeable future or even cancelling the project altogether given other, more urgent, needs for public expenditure.”

Mr Fabricant’s comments come at a time when the Government is preparing a number of departments for drastic cuts.

And the Conservative MP believes the line – which is scheduled to cost around £20billion – would go against the grain if it were to go ahead. He explained:

“With the Government seeking ways of saving billions of pounds, I cannot help but think that rather than cut existing projects, it might be better to cut the HS2 proposals which are so likely to have an adverse environmental impact on many parts of the railway’s route.

“It is now up to the Treasury to make their decisions and announcements will be made nearer the end of the year.”

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.