Oct 10 2012 By Carl Gavaghan
The Government will 'fast-track plans' for HS2, the Transport Secretary has told The Independent newspaper in a move sure to anger those campaigning against it.
Patrick McLoughlin (pictured) also dismissed suggestions that the Department for Transport's (DfT) financial modelling errors behind last week's West Coast Main Line debacle would undermine the project.
He told the Independent: "The easiest thing for any government to do on a project the size of HS2 is to say we're not doing it.
"All we get is grief. All we get is hassle. But one of the things that government has got to try and do is to look to the long-term future. "Whichever route we're going to put it on we're going to upset people."
Mr McLoughlin also told the paper he would "love to" complete the project within five years
Lottie Jones, of Ruislip Against HS2, said she was "very disappointed" in the minister's comments and the fact he did not mention at all the judicial review into the consultation process for HS2 that was due to be heard in December.
She said: "It is bordering of farcical.
"I could not believe it when I read his comments. He had the perfect chance to step back when the West Coast Main Line (WCML) failings came out to step back slightly and agree to check the figures again for HS2 to remove any doubt.
"Instead he seems to believe that as HS2 Ltd say they are fine they must be.
"I am gobsmacked he seems to not think much of the judicial review and completely ignores it in this interview.
"It is making me question where this unwavering support for HS2 comes from. I know David Cameron and George Osborne are in favour but there seems to be something else driving this project."