East Midlands will suffer the consequences of HS2 say campaigners

An artist's impression of the HS2 line
An artist's impression of the HS2 line

Campaigners have reacted with dismay at the recently-released HS2 documents, which show that the Long Eaton Viaduct will be even higher than previously planned for and more than a thousand jobs will be displaced.

HS2 will go from London to Birmingham, and then split, with a western line to Manchester and an eastern branch to Sheffield and Leeds including a new station at Toton.

Supporters say it will create thousands of jobs, and be a major boost to the economy.

But critics say it is overpriced, environmentally damaging, and unnecessary.

Around 11,000 pages of information on the line was released yesterday, detailing what environmental damage could be done.

Campaign group Stop HS2 say the planners have chosen the “most destructive and cheapest option for the line”.

The sections of the line which will go from Birmingham to Leeds, and from Crewe to Manchester, is known as phase 2b.

HS2 has said 58 million tonnes of landfill will be created by Phase 2b, four times the total annual amount of waste sent to landfill in the whole UK each year, with this route actually crossing six active landfill sites.

Brent Poland is the Stop HS2 Erewash spokesman, and said: “We are shocked by the extent of the damage to our local economy, infrastructure, housing and habitat.

“We believe that enough is enough and that HS2 can no longer use ‘an end justifies the means’ approach to our community.

“We are calling into question the legitimacy of HS2 and asking how they can fund not only the line but fix the area after they are finished with us.

“We believe that HS2 and our local politicians have not been fair, transparent and honest in their dealings with us and they have consistently ignored our concerns. We are calling on the government to investigate HS2 finances and organisation and want to know exactly how much central government money will be need in a time of dire shortage and also how much of our local taxes will used to try and mitigate the negatives outlined in their report.”

Maggie Throup is the Conservative MP for Erewash, and said: “On the whole I believe that these new documents mark a real step forward for HS2 and I was particularly pleased with the level of detail they go into.

“There are clearly those people who want to focus on the hypothetical negatives of the project, however what we have to remember is that the project is already supporting jobs at some 77 supply chain businesses within the East Midlands including in Erewash, and without doubt will continue do so in the future.

“I have worked hard to ensure both the Transport Secretary and HS2 Ltd understand the specific nature of Long Eaton.

“In addition, I am working with a number of residents and businesses that are affected, so ensuring they are getting the support from HS2 Ltd they are entitled to.

“I will continue to work with businesses and residents alike to ensure they get the compensation and the support they deserve and look forward to contributing fully to the consultation on behalf of my constituents.”

Joe Rukin is the campaign manager at Stop HS2, and said: “With costs everywhere else along the HS2 route spiralling out of control, it is absolutely clear HS2 Ltd have gone for the most destructive, least cost option.

“The only reason anyone would ever decide to go through over 500 homes and over 500 businesses, along with 19 ancient woodlands and 12 SSSIs is because they don’t care about people, jobs or the environment, they only care about getting the costs down.

“Up to now, the only thing HS2 Ltd have been able to do effectively is burn money, and with this bargain-basement route, the people of the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Cheshire are set to pay the price.”

Leonie Dubois, HS2’s head of consultation and engagement said: “HS2 is coming to the East Midlands and the region will reap significant benefits as a result. High speed rail will play a crucial role in rebalancing Britain’s economy; driving business growth, stimulating investment and creating jobs right across the country.

“Through the public consultations, we are providing a more detailed account of how we propose to build the railway and minimise its impacts during construction and operation. We actively encourage people to have their say on the plans we have published today.”

Kit Sandeman , Local Democracy Reporting Service