Coffee House

Cheryl Gillan steps up anti-HS2 campaign

7 November 2012

Parliament was dominated last week by naughty backbench rebels: this week has seen the ascendancy of sacked ministers intervening in government business in a far more polite, but still very effective, manner. Tim Loughton and Nick Harvey made their own points yesterday at Treasury Questions, but Cheryl Gillan is still on the warpath over high-speed rail, and is now stepping up her campaign.

The former Welsh Secretary made her concerns clear last week in an article for Coffee House, and has a question on today’s Order Paper which attacks the government’s decision to push decisions about expanding airport capacity into the long grass. The question, for Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, says:

‘To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies tasked to identify and recommend to the Government options for future UK hub airport capacity, for what reason he has precluded the possibility that the Commission could use its interim report to recommend a substantive airport policy if the Commission is persuaded that there is an urgent economic case to do so.’


Gillan is peeved that the airports inquiry will not be making any formal recommendations until after the 2015 election while preparations for high-speed rail continue without any regard to how this might be affected by a new runway or even a new airport in the South East.

She is also examining a section of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill which she worries could lead to the protections for a national park or area of outstanding natural beauty being ignored. She has written to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to ask for assurances about clause 7 of the Bill, which focuses on broadband provision and allows the Secretary of State to override the protections that these two designated areas enjoy in order to bring broadband to these areas. Gillan is worried that the Bill’s proposals will mean the erosion of protection for national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty where other projects, including high-speed rail, are concerned.

If she is not sufficiently placated, she plans to bring an amendment at the report stage of the Bill which would protect such areas.

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  • mopdenson

    This Government needs to show some joined up thinking. Sticking pins into a map and hoping for the best is not in the National interest.

  • In2minds

    Eric Pickles crushed localism!

  • barbie

    The time on a journey to London will be 23 minutes less with H2, and expensive 25 minutes for us all. Who will be able to afford to pay for the tickets, certainly not ordinary people. This money could be better spent upgrading the rest of the railway system, nationally. Lets face it some of the trains are a disgrace, don’t run on time, and no seats available. Its all down to the rich wanting an exclusive train to ride on where the mobs don’t have access, but we’ve got to pay for it via the tax system. It stinks and should be cancelled.

    • AdamSmith

      Journey Time will be 40mins less LN-BM. First rule of markets If Demand exceeds supply (not enough capacity without HS2) the result is high prices. If Supply exceeds demand (Excess capacity with HS2) then low prices.

  • John_Page

    So localism Eric is proposing to take more power to … er … override localism.

  • Heartless etc.,

    The way to stop the HS2 nonsense is to stop the H2B.


  • alexsandr

    she is right to question HS2. If it cant be done without government money it should not happen. same as airports should be privately funded.

    • HooksLaw


    • dalai guevara


      How do Germany, Spain and France do it?

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