THOUSANDS SIGN LATEST HS2 PETITION
THOUSANDS of people have signed a petition attempting to bring the High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) project to a halt.
Campaign group Stop HS2 launched the UK parliament e-petition on Thursday September 21.
On Tuesday it was trending on the website and had already gathered 8,385 signatures.
If a petition gets 10,000 signatures, the government has to respond and at 100,000 signatures the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.
The petition calls for the £55 billion project to be “immediately cancelled.”
Petition organiser Joe Rukin said: “HS2 is a vanity project, lobbied for by the firms who will make billions out of building it, at a time of continued austerity and cuts to essential services.
“Independent economists, rail experts and environmentalists have all heavily criticised the project, but Governments have refused to listen.
“HS2 is not a magic wand to cure the north-south divide.
“All the international evidence shows it will reinforce the dominance of London and increase regional divisions.
“In 20 years HS2 would deliver capacity where it is needed the least, with the lowest flexibility, at the greatest cost, while more beneficial rail projects have already been cancelled.
“The official cost of HS2 has almost quadrupled since it was proposed in 2008 and it will carry on rising unless it is immediately cancelled.”
The petition demands to “cancel HS2 immediately and repeal the 2013 and 2017 High Speed Rail Acts”.
Anti-HS2 campaigner Mike Haville said: “I know there have been a lot of HS2 petitions, but they all have been disjointed. With this one we want to make the government reply and hopefully, with enough momentum, debate HS2.”
The HS2 project is due to be completed in 2026 and sets out to connect London, the West Midlands, Leeds and Manchester via high-speed rail.
HS2 will run in a tunnel underneath most of London, but emerges at a point near West Ruislip and Ickenham.
Trains will proceed into Buckinghamshire over the Colne Valley viaduct.
Government calculations show that the cost per mile of HS2 is expected to reach £403 million, making it the most expensive railway in the world.
In July 2017 the government awarded contracts worth a total of £6.6bn to companies to build HS2, including crisis-hit firm Carillion.
Construction is expected to begin next year on the London to Birmingham route, with work due to start on tunnels, bridges, embankments and viaducts, creating 16,000 jobs across the country.
The deadline for the petition to “cancel HS2” is March 21 2018.
A Department for Transport spokesman said:”HS2 will become the backbone of our national rail network, supporting growth and regeneration and helping us build an economy that works for all.
“As HS2 will transform our rail network for the 21st century, it will create more seats for passengers and free up space on the existing network, enabling more commuter services on some of our busiest suburban railway lines, leading to better journeys for passengers. In west London, passengers will massively benefit from the new Old Oak Common station, with connections to Crossrail, Heathrow, the north via HS2 and the west of England.”