Belsize Liberal Democrats

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HS2 meeting with Transport Minister Norman Baker

by Tom Simon on 28 April, 2011

Camden Liberal Democrats have taken the case against High Speed 2 directly to the coalition government.


Transport Spokesperson Councillor Paul Braithwaite and Belsize Councillor Tom Simon met with Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Norman Baker on Tuesday and set out the concerns of local people in Camden.


Cllr Paul Braithwaite said, “This was an important opportunity for us to take the concerns of our Camden communities directly to the minister of transport.”


“We set out the case against High Speed 2, and the devastating impact it will have in Camden – more than in any other Local Authority.  Although it will be the Conservative Secretary of State who will decide the issue, it is important for all ministers to understand just how strong the opposition to the scheme is.


“We had a full and frank exchange with the minister.  The government need to realise that neither the carbon nor the business case for High Speed 2 add up and while money is so tight there are better ways of spending £17bn.”


Cllr Tom Simon said, “Huge numbers of people in Belsize Park are understandably worried about High Speed 2 and have contacted me about this issue.


“The Conservatives are the only party in Camden who seem prepared to back this flawed scheme and unwilling to take a stand against the government. We will continue to use Lib Dem influence in government to stand up for Camden residents.”

   1 Comment

One Response

  1. R. H. Parker says:

    Mr Simon,

    You say you ‘had a full and frank exchange with the minister’, but reveal nothing of Mr Baker’s side of the exchange. I don’t know if you’re aware of it, but Mr Baker, as well as being an enthusiastic advocate of HS2, is an equally enthusiastic advocate of another Dept for Transport agenda for which he is the responsible junior minister, Alternatives to Travel, an agenda that it is hard not to see as in direct conflict with HS2, certainly as far as economic and environmental ‘sustainability’ are concerned. Mr Baker seems unaware of any incompatibility himself, however, as he goes from city to city in the north trying to rally support for HS2, whilst making speeches elsewhere encouraging alternatives to travel, and not embarrassed to be heard under his own banner saying: ‘I am the first Transport Minister to say – Don’t Travel’. Much of this can be found on the DfT’s website, as also a speech by Philip Hammond endorsing Mr Baker’s alternative role; nevertheless, since publication of the previous government’s command paper on HS2 in March 2010 and the beginning of the Coalition’s Alternatives to Travel a few months later, I have been collecting various pronouncements on the two schemes – mainly Mr Baker’s – which only manage to look coherent if kept well apart. (Safety first seems to be widespread in the Department too; at one of the recent HS2 Public Consultation roadshows touring the prospective route, none of four or five advisory DfT staff had even heard of Alternatives to Travel). If you’re interested, I could send you by email a copy of this brief digest.

    Robert Parker

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