Kenilworth resident and Stop HS2 advocate calls for work stoppage after HS2 project delay confirmed


A Kenilworth man and advocate with the Stop HS2 campaign calls for the stoppage of works after public confirmation the high-speed rail will be delayed and cost more than originally expected.

As a result of a review of the project by the current HS2 Chairman Allan Cook, a written Parliamentary statement has been made by the Minister of Transport Grant Shapps.

The statement reveals the following:

Cook suggests a new later opening date of 2028 to 2031 for phase one - with a staged opening, starting with initial services between London Old Oak Common and Birmingham Curzon Street, followed by services to and from London Euston later.

HS2's total cost has also risen from £62bn to between £81bn and £88bn.

Kenilworth resident, Joe Rukin who serves as the Stop HS2 campaign manager, said: “It is now absolutely clear that parliament and the public have been callously and systematically lied to in a calculated manner over the cost and schedule of HS2 for a number of years by senior ministers. Work on the project must stop immediately.

“It's the same old story. They are still not including all the costs, but HS2 proponents are determined to make up a load of new benefits.

“We are now at the point where you really have to say what’s the point of all this. HS2 has lurched from one disaster to another, and yet no-one is prepared to put it out of its misery and cancel HS2.

Speaking of the review Mr Rukin added: “We have serious questions as to whether a review headed by former chair of HS2 could ever be described as independent.

"We worry, as happened in past when it comes to jobs, and economic benefits, that they are simply going to go away and make up some increasingly outlandish and improbable numbers to justify this white elephant.

"If this is to be a genuine review as to whether to go ahead or not with the project, the government must cease all works immediately, because damage to irreplaceable habitats and ancient woodland is happening as we speak.

"This destruction must stop now, Not in a couple of weeks or months, not at Christmas, now."

HS2 is to continue with current preparatory works.

There will be an information meeting held this week in Kenilworth on Thursday September 5.

Penny Gaines, the chair of Stop HS2, said: “It’s been clear to anyone watching that HS2 Ltd have been in major trouble for some time. They couldn’t stick to the budget, and the supposed opening date has remained unchanged whilst the start of construction has been repeatedly put back time again, and there is still no sign of notice to proceed which will enable HS2 to start actual building work.

“What’s clear from Grant Shapps statement is the very dire state of the HS2 project, just a couple of months after government ministers were claiming the budget and schedule were fine.

“With the acknowledgement of the delays, there is absolutely no need to continue with preparatory works while the review is going on and we call on the government to halt them immediately.

"They’ve given up the pretence that they can get it built to the original timescale, so there is no need for urgency. The damage is real, the damage is irreversible and the damage is ongoing.

“We call on Boris Johnson to be the Prime Minister who cancels HS2 and looks at the real infrastructure needs of the country.”