31 OCT 2013

High Speed Rail 2 Paving Bill

Today, I voted against the Government's Bill that would approve funding for High Speed Rail 2.

I do not believe that this project is in the national interest or in the interest of local residents and although I was disappointed to see the Bill pass through the House of Commons, I will continue to campaign for the Government to look again at this project and put in place an indepedent inquiry to assess the case for HS2.

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26 JUN 2013

High Speed Rail Paving Bill

Today I voted against the Second Reading of the Government's proposed High Speed Rail Paving Bill.

This Bill would allow the Government to spend money on preparations for High Speed Rail 2 and I believe this would be a waste of resources.

There have been considerable concerns raised over HS2 in recent weeks, and the cost of the project has again increased by £8 billion. We simply do not have enough information to make a sensible decision on HS2 at this time and I believe that the Government should change its course on this project and hold a public inquiry into the business case for HS2 before we make any long term decisions.

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I applaud your stance and continued opposition to HS2. I attended a local HS2 road show recently and was not impressed by the fudged and misleading report they were pedalling. They plan to run 14 trains per hour all of which exceed EEC noise levels, but they average these figures out to make them seem less. This is just dishonest, and if the government have to resort to tricks like this to prove their case I would say there is clearly no case for HS2 at all. As a country there is no clear proof that this scheme will help business, except the fortunate contractors who build it. It provides no benefit to local people who will have to travel miles to board the trains, if of course they can afford the fares! Also the environmental cost to the country is too high. Many unique habitats will be destroyed. This excuse has been used to deny planning permission for years, so for central government to ignore this and just bulldoze this scheme through is totally wrong. I would urge you to continue your opposition to HS2, and ask why existing railtracks cannot be bought up to a higher standard to achieve a similar outcome. Thank you for your continuing work for your constituents.
- Chris Boot

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21 MAY 2013

NAO HS2 Report

Today I wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport about the latest National Audit Office report on HS2 which indicated that the business case for HS2 was still not clear.

I have attached a copy of my letter below:

Letter to the Secretary of State for Transport

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17 JUL 2012

HS2 Westminster Hall Debate

I spoke earlier in a Westminster Hall Debate on HS2 and the link to Heathrow.

Here is a copy from Hansard of what I said:

Chris White (Warwick and Leamington, Conservative)

I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this debate. He talked about HS2 being phenomenally expensive, and he has mentioned that a number of assumptions have been made. Does he believe that it would be important and useful to have an independent review of HS2 and its usefulness to the economy?

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds, Conservative)

In light of what I am about to say about the alternative hub possibility, it may be that some form of review of the whole HS2 route would be a good idea. Perhaps my hon. Friend's concerns and my suggestions could be incorporated into one study.

In this Parliament alone we will be spending £750 million on HS2 before a spade enters the ground, with £529 million to be spent between 2012 and 2015, according to answers to my written parliamentary questions, Nos. 106148 and 106541. With the greatest humility, I say to the Minister that it is vital that we get the scheme right. It is no good commencing works only to realise at a later date that we could have done something better, because by that point it will be too late to change course. The UK has lagged behind our European counterparts in the construction of a high-speed rail project, but that presents us with an opportunity to take on board what has worked previously, and learn from mistakes made in other countries. There appears to be a lack of a strategic link between our aviation and rail policies. Indeed, as the Transport Committee in its recent report on high-speed rail stated:

"The development of what could emerge as separate strategies for rail and aviation again highlights the absence of an overall transport strategy: this is a lacuna which must be filled."

You can get a full transcript of the debate here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2012-07-17a.223.1&s=speaker%3A24959#g224.3

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16 MAY 2012

Concerns about HS2 project - Article in the Courier

This week, I wrote in the Courier about my concerns around High Speed Rail 2, here is a copy of what I wrote:

"There has been growing concern in recent weeks about the state of the High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) project.

Last month Steve Gooding, Director General of the Domestic Group at the Department for Transport, stated that HS2 had been put on "amber/red" alert by the Major Projects Authority – a body which oversees all large-scale projects that are funded and delivered by central government.

This means that "the successful delivery of the project is in doubt, with major risks or issues apparent in a number of key areas [and urgent] action is needed to ensure that these are addressed and whether resolution is feasible".

I have called on the Government to publish this report by the Major Projects Authority so that we can all see what these risks are, but I also think we also need a pause to reflect on the merits of the scheme as a whole.

If even before a single metre of track has been laid on the ground, there is a significant risk that the project may fail, then we need to have a serious discussion whether we should be committing over £32 billion of public money into it.

During a time of national stringency, we need to get maximum value for money out of every penny that is being spent by government. Already the proposed benefits per pound spent on HS2 has been halved from £2.40 when it was originally announced to £1.20. Clearly there is confusion, even within supporters of the scheme, as to what the benefits will be and the only way that we can resolve this is with a full, independent review into HS2 - both the costs and the benefits.

So I will be continuing to put pressure on the Government to deliver all the facts on HS2 so that we can make an informed decision in the best interests of our communities in the months ahead. Now is the time for Ministers to pause and reflect before we commit taxpayer's money, and ensure we make the right choice."

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30 JAN 2012

HS2 Questions

I have asked a number of questions about High Speed Rail 2 to the Secretary of State for Transport, you can find them by clicking on the links below:

HS2 Costs

Discussions about alternatives to HS2

Number of Civil Servants working on HS2

Number of Civil Service man hours spent on HS2

Number of jobs HS2 will create for Warwick and Leamington

You can see all my written questions here

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11 JAN 2012

My article on HS2 Decision

Like many in our community, I was most disappointed to see the Transport Secretary announce this week that she would be giving the go ahead for High Speed Rail 2 (HS2).

The more I have examined this issue, the closer I have looked at the business case and the longer I have considered the potential impact that it has on our area, the more convinced I am that this project is not right for Warwick and Leamington, nor for the country at large.

There is a great deal of talk about our Victorian railways and the need to build HS2 in order to modernise our infrastructure. But we mustn't forget that we are in the middle of our own 21st Century industrial revolution, one which isn't powered by coal and steam but by microchips and fibre optic cables.

So to invest £33 billion of public money, at a cost of £51m to each and every constituency, on one scheme which has a questionable evidence base, lacks a consensus not only amongst the public but amongst rail experts which will see hundreds of miles of our countryside irrevocably damaged, does not make sense – particularly when we face a time of national austerity and where there are many other projects which are potentially more worthwhile.

In the space of three years, the Department of Transport has gone from rejecting the need for a high speed rail line to enthusiastically supporting its development. I do not believe that there has been a proper consideration of this issue, and given the scale of the project in terms of cost and time, a full and independent commission should have been set up to ensure that we make a decision based on the best information possible.

That being said, the Government has now made a decision. But I will continue to oppose this scheme and ask it to reconsider. I will vote against the legislation when it comes before the House of Commons, whenever that may be.

This is the wrong decision, but I am still hopeful that if local people and campaigning organisations work together, we can still make a difference to the final outcome.

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Excluding vampires, no-one wants to get up at 5 o’clock especially to catch a train just to get to work. In a world where technological advances are removing distance from our working lives and enabling more and more people to work from home, knocking a few minutes off of a train journey seems to be retro-thinking. Read more: http://south-heath.co.uk/hs2-not-so-fast/
- South Heath Against HS2

I agree totally. HS2 will not benefit the constituency nor the country. Despite many previous governments purporting to support an "integrated transport policy" this is yet another example of a totally disjointed transport policy. Why for example has work started on a new "New Street" station yet the HS2 station will be somewhere else? This surely would have been an ideal opportunity to build a "Birmingham Central" station adjacent to Moor Street Station; this would put it on top of the London Euston line and could easily be the HS2 station; giving EASY interchange between the 2 existing lines in Birmingham as well as HS2. For HS2 to be any use we will need through trains to Europe from day1; it we have to change at London for Paris or Brussels then it's surely easier just to fly direct from Birmingham Airport. Even if HS2 comes the fastest way from Warwick or Leamington to London will still be on Chiltern trains, going to Birmingham, changing stations, getting on HS2 will take far longer. Finally if we need more capacity between the Midlands and London, whatever became of the Paddington service? Before Beeching the Snow Hill - Paddington line was the fastest from Birmingham to London; why can't it be that again? (Incidentally it also opens up Heathrow to the Midlands!)
- Martyn Bates

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11 JAN 2012

High Speed Rail 2 Decision

As you know the Government has now made the decision to go ahead with HS2.

This is disappointing as I believe that it is the wrong decision and I have been campaigning on this issue for many months.

I do not believe that HS2 is good value for money and will cause economic, environmental and social damage to communities across the country.

I have made clear that I will vote against the legislation on HS2 when it is put before the House, and I will continue to ask the Government to reconsider this decision in the interests of the country.

I appreciate that this issue causes deep concern for many residents, and I will continue to campaign on this issue right up to the vote and to mitigate the effects for our community as much as I can.

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10 JAN 2012

Question to the Secretary of State

Chris White MP: Does my right hon. Friend work on trains when she is travelling around the country, and if she does, along with hundreds of thousands of others, does she not believe that that factor undermines a major plank of the business case for HS2?

Justine Greening: No, I do not. The fact the people rightly complain when they get delayed on a train and stuck in traffic shows intuitively that people place a huge value on their time, and rightly so. We use robust methods to value time in the business case, and they are absolutely correct.

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2012-01-10b.23.0&s=speaker%3A24959#g41.5 ~ Link to the full discussion of HS2 Statement.

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People also value peace and quiet that's why millions leave the towns and cities to visit the Chilterns every year. I know that she is Transport Secretary and not Environment Secretary but she needn't be so dismissive of facts she doesn't like.
- South Heath Against HS2

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16 SEP 2011

Debate in Parliament on High Speed Rail

Thursday 13th October will see a debate take place in Parliament on High Speed Rail  - this will give an opportunity for Members of Parliament on all sides to discuss this issue in more detail and I will be seeking to represent the views of constituents during the debate. Keep checking here for more information.  

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Please continue to oppose HS2 for the residents of Warwick and Leamington. Not only will it damage and destroy ancient woodlands and countryside but it will bring no benefit to the communities it damages. In addition I believe that if the govt is looking to put money into public infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy and jobs there are better and better value for money ways of doing it The business case just doesnt stack up
- Emma Sparkes

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Contact Chris

chris.white.mp@parliament.uk

Constituency office
43a Clemens Street
Leamington Spa
Warwickshire
CV31 2DP
Tel: 01926 315888

Westminster office
Chris White MP
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 7201
Fax: 020 7219 5495

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