Denham Against HS2
Denham, the beautiful Buckinghamshire village where I've lived since 1998, has the misfortune to lie close to the proposed line of HS2, the high-speed train the government wants to build between London, the West Midlands and the north of England, at an official cost of £50 billion - and then some. We're estimating £80 billion, based on the extra costs they've forgotten to include, and the profligate overspending they've done so far. Consultancy fees are already more than twice the original budget, which is verging on £1 billion.
In short, we believe that HS2 is the wrong solution to the nation's public transport needs.
In common with many towns and villages along the route, Denham formed an action group soon after the project was announced in 2010, and my involvement grew as I realised how much damage the line would cause to the environment, and that cheaper and more practical alternatives were available, such as an upgrade of the perfectly good West Coast Main Line. My experience of dealing with journalists led to my election as Chair of Denham Against HS2 in March 2012.
Our group organises public events including question-and-answer sessions with local and national politicians, information seminars, an annual protest walk every spring through the beautiful Colne Valley (directly in HS2's line of fire) and fund-raising events such as dinners and quiz nights.
We produce a regular newsletter and I write a monthly column about the campaign in the local monthly magazine, In and Around Denham.
At the time of writing, HS2 remains no more than a line on a map. We believe it can be erased as easily as it was drawn. Yes, the HS2 Hybrid Bill sailed through the House of Commons in April 2014, but this is merely draft legislation and it has many a hurdle to cross before it becomes law. We're still hopeful that the entire project will be scrapped, but if the worst happens, we'll be campaigning for mitigation and guarantees of best practice every step of the way.
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