Now we are leaving the EU let’s ditch its HS2 plan too
13 April, 2017
• TOM Foot’s article about the European Union funding preliminary work on HS2 (How the EU’s digging deep for HS2, April 6) does not surprise me.
An article I once saw in a European rail magazine reported that the instruction re UK high speed rail came from the EU in the first place – not a formal edict that was public, but apparently a private approach to Gordon Brown when he was prime minister.
The European rail lobby was pressing the EU to do something re the UK’s indecision. The EU put it to Gordon Brown that the UK was behind on a high speed rail project as was adopted elsewhere in the EU. Some action was expected, but the EU held that it would be better announced by the UK national government.
Gordon Brown commissioned a company within the government to undertake a feasibility study. Several consultants here and abroad were subsequently involved – all of which was carried out some years before HS2 was announced to an unsuspecting public by one Lord Adonis. I imagine that up to then the UK paid consultancy fees.
I dare say that the EU financial grant revealed by Tom Foot was material in later decisions taken by the ensuing coalition and the Conservative governments.
I wonder whether the EU will expect the return of money spent on the HS2 project as part of its “divorce” demand?
Years ago there were EU dreams of a pan-European highway. Now, according to European Commission comments, the aim is a “trans European network” presumably of high speed rail.
What is never mentioned by those who are pro-high speed rail is the disparity between the UK and other EU countries when it comes to land available for huge infrastructure projects.
As we are leaving the EU the HS2 project ought to be jettisoned forthwith, before more damage is done to our country.