Thursday, September 16, 2021

News: MP's call to cancel HS2


Rother Valley MP, Alexander Stafford, continues to call for the national High Speed Two (HS2) project to be scrapped, branding it "a disaster" that "takes money and resources away from levelling up."

There is opposition to the HS2 scheme from within Rotherham since a 2b route realignment was recommended in 2016. The local authority set out that it doesn't want to see the project reach Yorkshire and the Rother Valley MP wants the project scrapped.

The region continues to wait for the Government to publish the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) which is seen as key to large scale transport interventions in the the North.

Speaking in a parliamentary debate, Alexander Stafford said: "I stand here in Westminster Hall today to oppose HS2, as I have opposed it ever since being elected.

"In Rother Valley, a northern seat and a seat that the Government want to level up, we say that we do not want HS2.

"I want to challenge this fallacy that HS2 is involved with levelling up. It is quite the opposite: HS2 takes money and resources away from levelling up. I say that HS2—I am particularly talking about the 2b arm that runs roughshod through my constituency, destroying 400 homes—damages the levelling-up process. Why is that? First of all, we have heard about £150 billion. What my constituency could do with £15 million would be transformative. Give us some of that; do not give us a rail line that we cannot get on to. That money is what we need.

"On top of that, we have talked about the trans-Pennine route here today; that is what we need. But what I hear from suppliers and construction companies is that there are not enough resources. There is not enough concrete; there are not enough tradesmen at the moment actually to build anything else. That is because HS2 is this gaping maw that is sucking in resources, sucking in money and sucking in everything, but not actually delivering anything. That undermines the whole concept of levelling up, so I say to the Government: we need to stop HS2 and the 2b arm.

"If newspaper reports are to be believed, the 2b arm will be scrapped. I welcome that and I hope the Minister will confirm that. Hundreds of my constituents, whose homes are being destroyed or compulsorily purchased, are being left in limbo. They do not know what is going on. We cannot just mothball it. We need to cancel it so that they can get on with their lives.

"I have one more point: we are destroying 400 homes in the Rother Valley. At the same time, Rotherham council is building new homes on the green belt, which is ridiculous. We are destroying the homes that we have and building on the green belt to make up for the loss. The HS2 project is a disaster, and 2b needs to be fully cancelled."

Phase 2b, which also includes a spur to Sheffield, shows the fast route to Leeds going through the East of Rotherham, affecting Wales, Aston, Ulley, Brampton-en-le–Morthen, Thurcroft, Bramley, Ravenfield and Hooton Roberts.

Images: HS2 Ltd


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