CamdenNewJournal

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Camden Conservatives have consistently opposed HS2 and hope the project will be dropped after June 8

18 May, 2017

• CAMDEN Conservatives have consistently opposed HS2, and hope this ill-conceived project will be dropped by the government after the election.

HS2 was dreamed up as an alternative to the third runway at Heathrow, but no one had done their sums. For a high-speed rail link to work you need massive demand with no alternative.

The Channel Tunnel was supposed to sink the ferries and allow investors to laugh all the way to the bank. But the project cost twice as much as expected, the company went bankrupt, and the tunnel still runs at 50 per cent of its design capacity because it underestimated the number of passengers that are not time-sensitive and want a cheaper route.

The first idea was to reduce the train time from London to Birmingham, but the idea of spending a massive amount to shave off 15 minutes rapidly attracted ridicule.

Desperate to save their own jobs, the HS2 team rapidly came up with the computer prediction that in a few years’ time the train network would be full. Even this idea fell flat on its face when a group of opponents showed that the rail network could easily be improved to meet any future demand.

The idea of racing up and down the country to a meeting will fall out of fashion once Skype, group-conferencing, and FaceTime become more acceptable. Once you get the systems to work it is a fantastic form of communication.

While there will always be the need for a face-to-face meeting, a huge number of routine ones can be done through video-conferencing. Other forms of electronic communication are also taking off at the speed of an email. The country needs real high-speed broadband not so-called high-speed rail.

I have already asked for a meeting with the transport minister – by Skype, of course. Every time I meet a minister with influence, I harangue them to drop the project, as do my Conservative council colleagues, led by Claire-Louise Leyland. Only a Conservative MP that will fight against HS2 from the Conservative benches will help persuade the Conservative leadership to drop this white elephant, and I hope all Hampstead & Kilburn residents that oppose HS2 vote for her on June 8.

CLLR JONNY BUCKNELL
Conservative, Belsize ward

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