High Speed Rail - Transport Committee Contents

Written evidence from Mrs M Hammond (HSR 04)

1.  What are the main arguments for this High Speed Rail Line

I really thought this charade had gone away but no, the Government seems to be determined to devastate the lives everyone, devastate the countryside and its habitat in order to build a new railway line that no one will be able to use unless one lives in London, Birmingham or Manchester.

2.  How does the HSR fit in with the Government transport plans?

It is considered that we must have a railway line like Europe but the government seem to have forgotten several facts. This is a small island, over populated and the valuable farms and woodlands that we have, are essential to the wellbeing of this country. We need the woodlands and pastures which you plan to decimate with a noisy, high speed railway line—our ecology and the delicate state of our wildlife depends on it. Cutting a woodland in half does not make it two woodlands. Wildlife in a large area depends on that large area and many species of animals and insects would not survive. To mention but one, our bee population is in decline and to decimate our present fields and farmlands will only exacerbate the problem and more and more of our farmland fields and pastures will fail to flourish. We need to grow our own food. We simply cannot continue to import such large quantities.

3.  Business Case

I consider that the need for such high-speed travel from one major city to another will not be a major requirement in the future as the Government predicts. With communication in the form of video conferencing, the rapid increase in mobile telephone technology, I doubt very much that such a great expenditure of money can be justified on such a scheme.

It is said that the HS2 trains will only take off a few minutes on the train journey. How on earth can all this disruption and cost be justified? We already have a speedier train service between major cities than most of Europe.

4.  Strategic Route

Yes, a good, frequent train service is required between the London train terminals and Heathrow. Perhaps it would cut out some of the car/taxi traffic on the roads in the area.

However, when the West Coast mainline (4 tracking) was upgraded recently (with much disruption to the local towns, villages and business along the way) they failed to upgrade the existing signalling. My goodness what a mistake!

I think that up-grading the existing rail network is a priority with up-to-date signalling enabling trains to travel faster, travel much closer together as well as having longer trains—thus eliminating the need for HS2. A few minutes on the journey from north to south is surely really not a problem.

I personally know of one farmer whose bridge was demolished and rebuilt when "4 tracking" was implemented only a few ears ago. Now he finds that, should the proposed plans now go ahead, his bridge will have to be demolished again and re-erected elsewhere, with a 10 mile detour for him and the local residents in his area of Staffordshire—unbelievable—and only to take off a few minutes journey time of the privileged few on the train!

5.  Impact

You will be hard pressed to convince the general public that HS2 etc will be the answer. As far as I can see with the fare prices that have been mentioned only Bankers and MPs will be able to travel, on expenses, of course.

For the rest of us, we will not be able to use the train as it will only visit major cities. My area of Staffordshire, like so many other areas of the country, will not benefit in any way. Just the disruption when the work is done and the continual noise of the proposed frequent trains (empty for the most part) imploding on our senses.

The devastation of the fragile wildlife. The devastation of our farms and countryside. The devastation of recreational areas. I feel sorry for my grandchildren and future generations if our Government takes country of ours along an HS2/3 route as we shall not enjoy times of peace and tranquillity in the countryside of our green and pleasant land.

I implore you to fully consider the impact HS2/3 will have on us all.

March 2011

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