London council voices opposition to HS2

A report has been produced recommending Camden Council’s opposition to the planned £33bn High Speed 2 rail line linking London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. The report is to be discussed by a cabinet meeting of Camden Council on 20 July.

A report recommends Camden Council’s opposition to the planned £33 billion (€37 billion; $53 billion) High Speed 2 rail line linking London to Birmingham in the West Midlands and Manchester and Leeds in the North. The report will be discussed by a cabinet meeting of Camden Council on 20 July. 

In March 2010, the government outlined the proposed route for the London to Birmingham stretch, which would commence at a rebuilt Euston station. The report says that the rebuilding of Euston would see the demolition of 216 Camden homes, 20 business premises, a number of open spaces and a nature reserve. It concludes that the proposals would have a “substantial negative impact” on the borough.

Sue Vincent, a Labour party MP and Camden councillor with responsibility for the environment, spoke of her opposition to the proposals when she addressed the House of Commons Transport Select Committee yesterday. “The negative impact of the HS2 proposals on our residents and businesses currently outweigh any benefits that could be achieved for the borough,” she said.

Vincent added: “Should the government ignore the concerns of local people and push ahead with the plans, Camden Council will work hard to ensure that impacts are minimised and that we get the best deal possible for the borough.”

The Department for Transport’s consultation process on HS2 runs until 29 July, with a formal decision on whether to proceed with current plans to be made later this year.

Towards the end of last month, it emerged that the government was considering leasing the rail line to the private sector one year after it is completed. While construction of the line would be on the government’s balance sheet, the private sector would be called upon to help fund stations.

“We’ve been clear that there would be opportunities for private capital to become involved in HS2 at an early stage through investment in stations and property development, but it is likely to be largely public funding that is used to build the main railway,” explained a spokesman from the Department for Transport.

“However, once the railway is built we would clearly consider all options to realise value from it. One such option would be the sale of a concession to run HS2 as we have done for HS1. However, no decisions have been made at this stage,” the spokesman added.