Campaigners say the decision to cancel part of the HS2 route proves why the entire project should have been scrapped.
The Government confirmed last week that the proposed leg to Leeds would no longer go ahead.
But Stop HS2’s Joe Rukin said the decision was further proof that the project – which will see part of the line cut through Lichfield and surrounding villages – was doomed from the start.
“Right from the very first meetings I was going to almost a decade ago, I was telling people that by the time they got round to this leg, the entire budget would have been blown down south.
“The cancellation of the Eastern leg of HS2 is vindication of everything we’ve been saying for a decade – that you can deliver more benefits to more people, more quickly and for less money without the massive environmental impact by upgrading existing infrastructure, reopening old lines and providing sustainable local transport.
“That’s what people need to get in and around the towns and cities where they live and work – they don’t need a fast train for fat cats that only ever got this far to prop up the powerful lobbyists from the construction industry.”Joe Rukin, Stop HS2
Despite the cancellation of the Leeds leg, Lichfield still faces more than a year of disruption as the section of the line through the region is built.
Penny Gaines, from Stop HS2, said the money for the controversial high speed rail scheme could have been used to create improvements across the existing transport network.
“Now that they are putting spades in the ground, it is becoming abundantly clear that they can’t build HS2 with the specifications dreamt up by London-based politicians.
“What they should have done is cancel the project in its entirety so they can make the improvements to local and regional transport that ordinary people want.”Penny Gaines, Stop HS2