West Midlands Friends of the Earth
Contact Chris Crean 0121 643 9117 mob 07720 147330
Axe HS2 and invest in public services; including local trains, buses and active travel from WMFOE report launched
A report commissioned by Friends of the Earth and written by the New Economics Foundation shines light on the flaws within the HS2 project. The report published today shows how HS2 will increase the North South divide bringing more benefits to London and the South East at the expense of the Midlands and the North. The money should be invested public services including local rail schemes, reversing cuts to socially valuable rural and urban bus services and in active transport to reduce air pollution and increase physical activity.
Chris Crean from West Midlands Friends of the Earth said: “Transport is the UK’s biggest source of climate wrecking emissions. In order to deal with the climate crisis, we know that we have to encourage people out of their cars, but right now cycling across much of England is unsafe, bus routes are being cut, and far too many trains are overcrowded, late and ridiculously expensive.
“White elephants like HS2 aren’t the answer. It will take over a decade to build, destroy ancient woodlands and only 4% of those projected to use HS2 would otherwise have driven.”
Andrew Pendleton, the director of policy at the NEF and one of the report’s authors, said: “Investment in the UK’s railways is urgently needed, but HS2 is trickle-down transport policy. It will be used by the wealthiest travelers, intensify the north-south investment divide and is a standalone project that simply does not integrate well enough into the existing network. It’s an expensive answer in search of a question.
Later today campaigners from Buckinghamshire and business leaders from the West Midlands will be petitioning the offices of HS2 at Snow Hill in Birmingham.
Business owners from Birmingham who are still waiting for payment from HS2 Ltd will join a delegation of residents from Buckinghamshire outside the HS2 Ltd headquarters in Birmingham. The residents will be delivering a petition, asking HS2 Ltd CEO Mark Thurston to explain why he intends to start work and destroy 200 acres near the village of Steeple Claydon, before the HS2 project has been given notice to proceed by Government. They will be joined in solidarity by businesses owners from Birmingham who have had their businesses seized by HS2 Ltd, without being paid.
Notes to editor:
Opportunity Cost of HS2 report: https://policy.friendsoftheearth.uk/publications/opportunity-costs-hs2
New Economics Foundations report:
Friends of the Earth is an international community dedicated to the protection of the natural world and the wellbeing of everyone in it. We bring together more than two million people in 75 countries, combining people power all over the world to transform local actions into global impact. For more information visit:https://friendsoftheearth.uk/ follow us at @friends_earth, or like our Facebook