Written evidence from Mrs M Hammond (HSR
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
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 lineour
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 trainsthus
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 Staffordshireunbelievableand
only to take off a few minutes journey time of the privileged
few on the train!
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.