“Beyond hypocrisy”: HS2 campaigners in Kenilworth slam Transport Secretary

HS2 stock image PNL-161002-115346001
HS2 stock image PNL-161002-115346001

New Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has come under heavy criticism from Kenilworth campaigners against the HS2 high-speed rail line near the town.

Mr Grayling announced this week that the Government is still “fully committed” to HS2 just a week after the project was met by a frosty reception at the Conservative Party Conference.

In his speech, delivered at Canary Wharf, Mr Grayling declared that the case for HS2 “is as strong as ever”.

But campaigners have said this is at odds with comments he made in 2009 when he said HS2 was needed only as an alternative to a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin, who lives in Kenilworth, said: “Chris Grayling says the case for HS2 is as strong as ever, but seems to have forgotten that he originally said the whole point of high speed rail was as an alternative to Heathrow expansion, but the proposals for HS2 no longer include links to Heathrow or the Channel Tunnel.

“Mr Grayling saying ‘the case is as strong as ever’ for HS2 when his entire original justification has disappeared is beyond hypocritical, it is completely irresponsible and shows a total disregard for the facts.”

Campaigners have also criticised the £70 million funds being announced to support communities and road safety along the route between London and the West Midlands.

Mr Rukin said: “The £70 million fund for communities which has been ‘announced’ includes £30 million which was already on the table, and is far less than would normally be required for developments under Section 106 agreements and infrastructure levies.

“If this fund was being allocated under normal rules, £70 million wouldn’t even cover Camden.

“To try and suggest less than £500,000 per mile is generous is a disgrace.”