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01/12/2012
An extract of an email by a CPRE Member about the CPRE National position on HS2.


This is the site that sets out the National CPRE position on HS2. It is fair to say that there are some CPRE offices in the regions that disagree with their HQ on HS2, but as the CPRE are now asking for support for under the banner, "CPRE emergency action: countryside under threat", it seems hard to reconcile this concern whilst being unconcerned with HS2 threatening the countryside.

http://www.cpre.org.uk/resources/transport/rail/item/download/379

The email is in responce to a circular asking for help to protect the Countryside sent to a CPRE member.

................I absolutely share your concerns with regard to the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, but I am finding your arguments wholly sabotaged by the support for HS2 coming from Shaun Spiers.

This started earlier in the year as here;

http://www.cpre.org.uk/media-centre/latest-news-releases/item/2671-rural-campaigners-welcome-thrust-of-hs2-announcement but was very recently perpetuated by the virtually unchallenged platform given to the Secretary of State, Patrick McCloughlin  here;

http://www.cpre.org.uk/magazine/opinion/item/3126-transport-secretary-addresses-cpre-on-rural-roads-and-rail

McCloughlin is so unchallenged by CPRE that in the foreword to the property and compensation consultation document, just published, McCloughlin was able to imply endorsement of the HS2 project by CPRE.

"High Speed Two (HS2) is a vital infrastructure project that will transform the UK transport network. It will provide the capacity and connections that our country needs if we are to face the challenges of the 21st century, but I am also very aware that it will have a direct impact on communities along the line of route.

The Government has already worked hard to minimise the impact of HS2 on the landscape, taking decisions that will help safeguard the countryside and local communities as far as possible. I am mindful that environmental mitigation is important not just for those living today but also for future generations. With this in mind, we are working constructively with a broad range of interested environmental groups such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the National Trust.”

http://highspeedrail.dft.gov.uk/sites/highspeedrail.dft.gov.uk/files/9213-DfT-HS2-01-PCCS01_TAGGED.PDF

HS2 is not a "vital infrastructure project”. On the contrary, it will be an enormous resource drain.  There are far more cost effective and environmentally constructive opportunities to improve the rail network, including north-south  capacity, without an entirely new line. See http://www.betterthanhs2.org/

The arguments for high speed rail are superficially seductive and I fell for them before I was directly affected. But being directly affected one studies the issue carefully and it becomes clear that the claims made by construction industry spokesmen such as Greengauge 21 and Steer Davies Gleave do not stand up to scrutiny. It has been too easy for them to malign us simply as NIMBYs.  

I am absolutely sure that Shaun Spiers is misguided rather than malign and I know his apparent enthusiasm is not shared throughout the CPRE.

So, I look forward to attending the meeting tomorrow organised by the Warwickshire CPRE branch, where I hope that we will get some clarity as to how CPRE will refocus its efforts in this regard, and how we can better work together with yourselves and the other environmental organisations.

I agree with you that the government is bringing in the  Growth and Infrastructure Bill precisely because it is seeking to bring in more of the same "intrusive communications paraphernalia” as you describe it. The attitude that underpins the Bill is exactly what we have experienced since the route was announced.

With the announcement of the further routes north imminent, the CPRE has probably never before had such a golden opportunity to recruit members, campaigners and supporters across the country.  

The campaign against HS2 and your campaign against the Growth and Infrastructure Bill should be two sides of the same coin.

If you think that the CPRE has gone too far with its ability to accept HS2, then kicks up a fuss because planning rules may be changed to use the Green Belt for building, please tell them to be consistant and object to both HS2 and relaxing planning laws to allow expansion into Green Belt areas.

Please write to

Shaun Spiers

CPRE

Europoint House 5-11 Lavington Street, London, SE1 0NZ





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