Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Why Failing Grayling must go

When Transport Secretary Chris Grayling visited Crofton in Secret in August 2016 - a week after our community protest against the new HS2 route affecting Crofton, he instructed HS2 Limited to think again about the planned Rolling Stock Depot as it was clear that encircling the village with high speed track and depot was unacceptable even to him. When he announced in parliament in November 2016 - a study would be made by HS2 Limited into alternative locations we cheered. When we met Junior Transport Minister in London Andrew Jones we asked him to thank Chris Grayling for getting this right. But despite our best efforts and those of our MP Jon Trickett, Grayling has dodged all attempts to fix a meeting with him either in November 2016, March 2017 or July 2017. Now 16 months after his secret visit, the depot move announcement remains unannounced. An encouraging sign is that HS2 Limited has safeguarded the alternative Leeds Depot site next to the Nostrop Sewage Works but the silcnce is deafening. The results of the October Consultation remain unpublished. Paul Maynard, the replacement Junior Minister for Andrew Jones has left the Department For Transport and still no news. This has blighted the Economic Energy project at New Crofton Mine.
During the 2017 General Election Chris Grayling came to Crofton to get phorographed next to the new Wakefield Eastern Bypass. When Rail Fares rose in January 3.6% to pay for the increased cost of HS2 - Grayling few to Qatar to dodge questions. A Few weeks later HS2 Contractor Carillion went into Liquidation owing billions of pounds, and it emerged that Grayling had awarded Carillion a £1.5 billion contract on Phase 1 in July 2017 ten days after they issued a profit warning and their share price collapsed. The very same day Grayling announced that he was ignoring the 94% of Yorkshire people including 99% of Crofton Residents who opposed the New HS2 M18 Eastern Route plan. So much for his championing the Will of the people. It has now emerged that as Justice Minister in 2015, Grayling awarded Carillion with a £200m Contract to run 50 Prisons (comments on a postcard please). For 27 Seconds in January Grayling was announced to have left the Transport Department as Conservative Party Chairman before it was announced as a mistake. Strikes on Northern Rail and Southern Rail show how funding is being taken from existing rail services to fund the £111bn HS2.
Attempts to get a review into the M18 Decision by MPs have been rebuffed, even though Doncaster Council, Rotherham Council have shown it will cost more money, create fewer jobs and create more property impacts than the old Meadowhall Route.
We will be protesting at Morley Town Hall on Feb 2nd when Grayling speaks at a Conservative Dinner and at the Royal Armouries on March 2nd when the speaks at a Northern Rail Conference in Leeds. Our Message, Grayling must go, HS2 must go and a money must be put into a Yorkshire Transport Plan instead. The Transport for the North Strategic Plan has been drawn up in the knowledge that Sheffield does not connect to Leeds under current funding plans and the plans to link Sheffield and Manchester within 30 mins (currently 48 mins) cannot be achieved. Our plans drawn up with High Speed UK achieve all of these things but Grayling, Transport for the North and HS2 Limited still refuse to listen.

The Carillion Collapse, the Property Data Scandal, the Quitting Ministers, Redundancy Fraud all have made many cracks in the HS2 Dam, which continues to look about to fail yet still stands but for how long?
We will keep the pressure up through our supporting councillors, MPs and campaigners and support those in the South fighting HS2 as attemps are made to bully & intimidate peaceful residents  protesting breaches of HS2's own environmental commitments. Shame on HS2, we carry on the fight.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

How HS2 Limited fooled parliament on M18 saving

How HS2 Limited fooled parliament on costs

  1. Purported £1billion saving Meadowhall V M18

The Truth:

The actual figure was £985m , however that was on the Consulted Meadowhall route v M18

in fact in 2015, HS2 Limited had refined the Meadowhall route saving £212m by scrapping tunnels at Hoyland and contrary to claims in 2016, used this route as the comparator rather than the Consulted Route.

This meant the actual saving

Refined Meadowhall Route V M18 was £773m

Cost assumptions

  1. Midland Mainline Electrification costs £300m
  2. Loop Line Upgrade £400m
  3. South Yorkshire Parkway £200m

So the real cost of the M18 route is plus £127m more than Meadowhall on capital costs

Hidden Mitigation & Engineering Costs

As local campaigners have pointed out additional mitigation costs on M18 would involve compensation, tunnelling and mining subsidence aleviation adding hundreds of millions to this, - Crofton has asked for an 8km deep tunnel to mirror the Chilterns Tunnel which would cost £1.6bn

So in reality the £ 1 Billion capital saving was actually £127m of additional cost 

Friday, 9 December 2016

HS2 Limited spends £280,000 on pro-HS2 propaganda to 7 year old Children in HS2 Affected communities

In a move which mimicks the world of George Orwell, HS2 Limited has awarded a £280,000 contract to a London based consulting company to target pro-HS2 propaganda at primary school children aged 7 as well as Secondary School students in the very communities affected by the HS2 route. At the very time these same communities are being consulted about the many objections to the route, schools in Wakefield are being solicited on behalf of HS2 to promote the scheme. Since anyone of any age can reply to the consultation, this is a clear breach of the consultation by HS2 Limited. Children in Wakefield district whose families are facing the demolition of their homes are invited to make the fastest train using a balloon. Older Children are given a project to plan a Zoom Train route and calculate the cost saving of demolishing peoples homes compared to tunnelling underground. It is outrageous that Wakefield Council which has voted to oppose HS2 should be party to promoting corporate propaganda aimed at indoctrinating children while parents and Grandparents are lobbying to protect their communities and families from the same destructive project. If this wasn't so sinister and unacceptable it would be funny, but to the hundreds of families facing enforced relocation by HS2 and the thousands being financially blighted and facing years of noise and construction pollution it is anything but a joke.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

How HS2 aims to save billions by not tunnelling in Yorkshire

As a result of the decision by BBC Radio Sheffield to exclude Yorkshire Against HS2 from the key HS2 Debate on December 1st in Sheffield in preference to pro-HS2 business & community groups, a key fact was prevented from coming into the public domain. Namely that the planned amount of tunnelling on the new M18 Eastern Route has been halved from 4% to 2% of the route. It is worth reminding ourselves that the "new" route is an old proposal from 2009 called "East of Rotherham" and was rejected by HS2 Limited themselves in 2011 due to the high costs, high impacts and low connectivity compared to other routes including the previously recommended Meadowhall route which HS2 Limited advocated between 2012-2016. (This route is not dead, and as it is less impactful and less costly & gives higher connectivity it may well be readopted)  So compare the 2% under tunnel on the M18 Eastern Route proposal with the 17% of tunnel on the London-Birmingham Leg (a total of 54km of tunnel costing £5 billion) with the 24% of tunnel on the Birmingham to Manchester Leg (total of 32km costing £3billion) with the mere 5km (2%). This tunnel at Woodlesford was the result of a 3 year campaign against the proposed Viaduct. Also remember that a proposed 2km length of tunnel under Hickleton which was including in the East of Rotherham plan from 2009-11 was dropped from the resurrected proposal.  The claimed £768m saving from the M18 Eastern Route would be swallowed by the necessary mitigation tunnels needed to protect communities in Mexborough, Bramley, Crofton and Hickleton amongst others which would add a minimum of £800m to the costs of the proposal, wiping out the one off saving of £300m from not building a HS2 station in Sheffield at Meadowhall.

Indeed if the level of tunnel mitigation offered on the London to Birmingham or Birmingham to Manchester routes was provided to Yorkshire communities it would add another £4 billion to the cost of construction as tunnels cost £100m per Km. Yorkshire people would say that Yorkshire landscape rivals the Chilterns in beauty and Yorkshire homes are as important as those in London,Birmingham or Manchester.

Friday, 26 August 2016

False Statements in HS2 Higgins Report undermine HS2 New Route Case

On July 7th 2016 Sir David Higgins, Chairman of HS2 Limited gave his name to a Report which recommended abandoning the Existing HS2 Eastern Leg Route 2B through South & West Yorkshire in favour of a longer route 30km to the East. This new Eastern M18 Route was claimed to be a saving of £1 billion over the old route, and the new route involved a lower number of demolitions, lower noise impacts & better geological conditions than the previous route running through Meadowhall.

It was "unfortunate" however the report admitted that the new route would entirely demolish the Newly built Housing Development of 215 homes at the Strata Home Shimmer Estate at Mexborough.

Local campaigners & community representatives have now identified a staggering 323 properties along the new 58km route which lie within the 60 metre Safeguarding zone and are at risk of demolition/compulsory purchase by HS2 Limited. That figure is over three times the previous number of demolitions of 105 for the original route. This makes the statement on page 22 of the Higgins Report - a lie & therefore the Secretary of State Chris Grayling MP is being given false information to make his decision in November 2016 over the choice of the route.

We have repeatedly called on Sir David Higgins  to correct these false assertions as a Freedom of Information request from Bramley resident Chris Matthewman has established that HS2 Limited did no assessment of demolitions before announcing this new route.

Jonathan Pile - Chair of Crofton Against HS2. Coordinator Yorkshire Against HS2