High-speed link a ‘waste of taxpayers money’ claim opposition groups

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GROUPS opposing a high-speed rail link (HS2) which would pass through Northamptonshire, have branded the proposal “a waste of taxpayers’ money”.

South Northamptonshire’s Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom co-chaired a conference in London yesterday, where different organisations highlighted their concerns about HS2, a high-speed rail line which will run through parts of South Northamptonshire.

The event saw groups calling for HS2 to be cancelled despite the fact the government is pushing ahead with the consultation to spend billions on the rail link.

Andrea Leadsom MP said: “This project is not value for money for taxpayers.

“There are also key questions that remain unanswered, including the actual impact of the project on other commuter lines and the real impact on the North- South divide.

“It has not been shown that HS2 is better than alternative rail projects. We need an independent assessment of the HS2 project.”

The groups that attended the event included the RAC, AGHAST, the TaxPayers’ Alliance and the Countryside Alliance.

Matthew Sinclair, director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said the project was a waste of tax-payers’ money and would only benefit a small number of passengers. He added: “HS2 is a monumental waste of money and not in the national interest. Politicians are ploughing ahead with a white elephant that will, even when it is finally completed, only benefit a fortunate minority of passengers, whilst cutting spending, and hiking taxes, for everyone else.

“This ludicrously expensive proposal is built on a flawed business case and isn’t worth the huge cost.

“The Government needs to scrap high- speed rail and look at more affordable alternatives to deliver the capacity the rail network needs.”

Alice Barnard, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, raised concerns about the environmental impact HS2 would have and the affect it will have on the countryside, including areas of Northamptonshire’s greenery.

She said: “HS2 will fundamentally alter large sections of the British countryside and have a huge environmental impact.

“The environmental impact of HS2 is just one of the costs, which has been underestimated and the so-called national benefits of HS2 are wildly exaggerated

“Put simply, HS2 is not the best use of £35 billion of public funds.”