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Lichfield campaigners criticise Birmingham City Council’s support for HS2

HS2 protesters in Lichfield

A Lichfield campaign group has blasted Birmingham City Council’s support of high-speed rail in the region.

The council has pledged to “start selling the project to the wider region”, but protesters from Lichfield Action Group (LAG) have claimed any benefit from HS2 will be limited to the big cities.

A spokesman said:

“The Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond and HS2 Ltd obviously recognise they are losing the arguments over the spurious benefits HS2 will bring. So concerned are they that they are clearly pressing the vested interests of public sector and rail industry organisations to mobilise their forces in a publicity campaign in which exaggerated claims of unproven benefits will be used to try to get the people of the West Midlands on their side.

“Birmingham City Council says ‘there must be no cave-in to countryside protestors attempting to derail the high-speed rail scheme’. This is typical big-city arrogance – they believe they can dictate to the rest of the country for whom HS2 will be a costly disaster.

“They are in for a surprise. The protestors will not go away until the Mr Hammond recognises his folly and agrees to put money where it is needed – a transport infrastructure that will allow communities outside London to flourish instead of a vanity project that will drain the regions of wealth as it inevitably seeps towards London.”

LAG have also cast doubt on some of the figures put forward to support the case behind HS2.

The spokesman continued:

“Birmingham appears to believe that 20 minutes saved on a journey will generate 10,000 to 22,000 extra jobs in the West Midlands and an increase in economic output of between £600 million to £1.5 billion.

“This  logic-defying statement is no more than a leap of faith. Any jobs created will largely be temporary construction jobs, expect perhaps at Birmingham Airport where people from London wanting to fly abroad and recognising an alternative to Heathrow will spend a couple of hours buying coffee and duty-free goods.

“There may be developments in the immediate vicinity of the stations, but that extremely localised benefit won’t convince the residents of Staffordshire, which won’t have a station, that the destruction of the countryside, homes and businesses like Packington Moor and Whittington Heath Golf Club is a price worth paying.

“Instead of backing this white elephant, Birmingham should be demanding funding to support its infrastructure, funding that will inevitably not be forthcoming as any money available will be swallowed up by HS2. Birmingham should have learned the lessons of the Comprehensive Spending Review, when £8billion was made available for transport – the vast majority for London projects.”

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4 Comments

  1. Julie Upton

    19th January, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    The countryside should be defended by all it’s users – country and city dwellers alike. We all get pleasure from it no matter where we live. Lichfield and the surrounding area will get no benefit from this new rail link, in fact they could lose business if everything localises around the only local stop off in birmigham.

  2. Roger waller

    19th January, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    This project is folly, it will bleed the brightest and best into London. Live in comparatively cheap property in Birmingham and get your firm to pay your commuting costs and to hell with the local economy. It will starve Birmingham of infrastructure money, even Centro, who have admitted spending £67,000 lobbying for HS2 in an FoI request admit that more infra-structure spending is required. This will not happen after the vast sums of money spent on this white elephant. Why not spend a fraction of this money on upgrading existing transport systems, are any sane people convinced that some 19,800 people each way will travel per hour!! Those not City based will see only detriment to their travel services and have to use their cars more, how green!
    This is a Political Vanity Project,have we learnt nothing from the Dome.

  3. Peter Jones

    19th January, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    The people in London don’t want to be swamped by Brummies!
    Where are we going to put them all?
    Once they are here they won’t want to go home.

    Seriously though, why not spend money on a an effective national electrified railway infrastructure. People want and need reliable, clean and affordable transport to get them out of their cars. People carriers not Ferraris.

  4. rae sloan

    19th January, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Birmingham CC are Fausts.
    They seem to be expecting a lot of people to be working at the station at the airport as people land and make their way to London.