High Speed Rail - Transport Committee Contents

Written evidence from I M Williams (HSR 03)

I enclose comments relating to the proposals for HS2 together with a suggestion for an alternative route running from just south of Middleton to just north of Lichfield.

It is my opinion that, on balance, all parts of Britain need a High Speed Train service. Moreover, that it should have been built years ago.

Major works such as these will always require large budgets and such is the nature of public works that there will always be other demands on the funds available.

If the decision to proceed had been taken many years ago, however, it is possible that far more goods would be transported by rail thereby greatly reducing the number of heavy goods lorries on our motorways. The consequence of the huge numbers of these lorries, is the need to keep spending, additionally large amounts, on the maintenance of our motorways and also further large sums expanding their width and numbers.

Had we already built the railway, then as a result there would, probably, have been less demand for ever more motorway capacity, which would have offset the cost of building a High Speed rail system in the first place. Additionally had the system been built earlier there would, probably, have been a significantly smaller number of dwellings involved which limit the choice of route or add to the cost of compensation.

As it is, I believe it essential that we finally bite the bullet, in the interests of the country's commercial future, and press on with the building of the Nation's High Speed Rail network.

I understand that, in this densely populated country, it will cause great inconvenience to many. Proportionately, however, they are a small minority of the population, and providing they reeive fair and equitable compensation, I would hope those having to give up their homes and businesses understand that it is for the greater good of the Nation.

The cost of the project is enormous (but would be even more if postponed again) and, as always for a project of this nature and magnitude, there are experts for each side who are able to argue the case both for and against the scheme. They are able to "prove" that on the one hand it will be a boon but put an equally strong case, on the other, that it is not viable.

This, as always, leave the majority of us, as laymen, little the wiser and having to rely on our "gut feeling".

In my case, as I mention above, I believe it will be a benefit to our country's trade, be it manufacturing or tourist, and might even product savings elsewhere (eg less motorway expansion).

I enclose some maps showing my alternative route and other ideas together with an explanation of why I think this route would be better.[9]

March 2011

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Prepared 8 November 2011