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HS2 campaigners prepare to hand over petition at Downing Street

Campaigners battling to prevent a high speed rail line being built are set to hand in their petition to Downing Street ahead of a debate in Parliament about the plans.

Stop HS2 protesters in Lichfield

Stop HS2 protesters in Lichfield

Members of the Stop HS2 group will hand over the signatures at 1.30pm today (October 11)  before MPs discuss the proposals for the route, which would cut through parts of Lichfield and the surrounding villages, on Thursday.

“We had 104,000 signatures on the combined petitions,” said Stop HS2’s Joe Rukin. “But since we confirmed the date for handing them in and put out the final call-in, more have been arriving at our office, so we won’t know exactly how many we’ve got until the day they are handed in.

“It’s been a long road getting here and a lot of hard work has gone in from a lot of people. We thank all of them and everyone who signed up, and on Thursday their efforts will have their first reward when there is finally a debate in Parliament on HS2.

“The fact that HS2 has progressed so far without a debate in the Main Chamber of Parliament is a disgrace, but even now MPs won’t be able to actually vote on HS2 before Transport Secretary Philip Hammond decides whether he wants to go ahead or not. The whole process, which began with the unelected unaccountable Lord Adonis just waking up one morning and deciding he wanted a high speed train.

“The face that this continued on with the farce that was the public consultation and which is now set to progress to the next stage just on the nod of Hammond sticks two fingers up at the ideas of both representative democracy and that Governments should think and act in the best interests of the country as a whole.”

MPs Dan Byles, Andrea Leadsom and Chris White have already confirmed that they will be joining the group to hand over the petitions.

But Mr Rukin believes more politicians need to stand up for their constituents over the issue of high speed rail.

“Both handing in the petition and the debate will be great opportunities for MPs to show their support for the campaign,” he explained. “Some MPs have worked exceptionally hard on the campaign, but now it is the time for more of them to do more to influence their parliamentary colleagues and deliver the facts behind the spin of HS2.

“There is simply no case for HS2, either environmentally or economically. It will do none of the things which have been promised and is simply a poorly thought through fast train for fat cats, an unaffordable luxury which this country can ill-afford at this time of cuts.”

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