Anti-HS2 campaigners say ‘tide is turning’ against high-speed rail plans

An example of the high speed HS2 train
An example of the high speed HS2 train

Anti-HS2 campaigners in north Derbyshire believe the ‘tide is turning’ against the £50 billion rail project following a critical new report.

Peter Howarth, from the Killamarsh and Renishaw HS2 Action Group, welcomed the House of Lords report which said the Government was yet to make a ‘convincing case’ for why the high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham and Sheffield is needed.

Mr Howarth said feelings against the plans are growing, with more than 75 people attending his group’s latest meeting.

Under current plans for HS2, a number of homes in Killamarsh face demolition to make way for the line, while it is also feared noise from the super-fast trains will affect residents.

Mr Howarth said concerns from his group about whether the economic case for HS2 is viable were echoed by the Lords Economic Affairs Committee.

He said: “The economic case has never been proven as the House of Lords has said. For me, I see a tide turning. Whether we succeed or not, I don’t know.”

The Lords committee questioned the current plans for HS2.

Lord Clive Hollick, committee chairman, said: “At £50bn, HS2 will be one of the most expensive infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK, but the Government has not yet made a convincing case for why it is necessary.

“The committee are supportive of investment in rail infrastructure, but not convinced HS2 as currently proposed is the best way to deliver that investment.”

The peers said London was likely to be the biggest beneficiary of HS2 under the current proposals, but said there was a ‘strong case’ for building the second phase of HS2, involving Sheffield, first.

It also backed HS3, a further trans-Pennine link between major northern cities including Sheffield.

The Department for Transport said the case for HS2 is ‘crystal clear’ and will support economic growth in the North.