Oct 7 2011 By Keri Brennan
EIGHTEEN months since the initial HS2 announcement was made, what is the situation for Hillingdon residents?
Some suggest the tide is turning, with big names ranging from Janet Street-Porter and Boris Johnson to Archie Norman, the chairman of ITV, clearly stating that they think HS2 is flawed.
Some feel more pessimistic than ever that it will happen, whatever we do, and that feeling is compounded by the numerous mentions of transport infrastructure projects at the annual party conferences by all parties.
First up were the Lib Dems. After months of dismissing informed and concerned residents as being just 'nimbys', the Transport Minister, Norman Baker, has declared his surprise that no one is complaining about the local and personal impacts of HS2. He has obviously not been listening!
Next up were Labour. Not many surprises there, since HS2 was their proposal so it would be embarrassing to say sorry we were wrong.
Last week it was the Tories. Secretary of state Philip Hammond has already claimed he's seen no new evidence to diminish the case for the railway – an extraordinary claim when considering the detailed and expert submissions from a variety of academics and professionals among the 50,000+ consultation responses.
But Hillingdon already knows all it needs to know about Philip Hammond, the man who publically stated on more than one occasion that: “I have visited the whole of the line of route and the communities that will be affected by it, listening to their views”. And: "I intend to personally monitor the mitigation proposals - visual and acoustic - of every mile of this railway."
Then Hammond forgot to visit the several affected communities in our borough. Then Hammond overruled his officials' recommendations for a tunnel to protect hundreds of homes.
So there is no guarantee our political parties will see the light, and unless we make our voices heard they will have no reason to. Most 'pro' MPs have had no need to pay attention to the detail and have fallen for the propaganda. You can help change this by asking friends all over the country to email their MP. It takes five minutes using the website www.highspeedrail.org.uk.
Hillingdon residents have made lots of noise and it is has made a difference but now we need to make sure the rest of the country is listening. We in Hillingdon have no qualms about saying that there is NO CASE for HS2.
Its business and economic case are a joke (at the taxpayer's expense) and its environmental case is non-existent.
We are proud that we know the detail, we have read all of the consultation, highlighted the flaws and the particular issues for Hillingdon, as have our council and now our MPs, and we all say the same thing: "Save Hillingdon, north and south, from this £33billion joke that just isn't funny.
So make your voice heard and come along to Parliament on October 13. That is the day that parliament will have a debate about HS2.
We have permission to be there showing our views on HS2 at Old Palace Yard. So be there from 10.30am and represent Hillingdon, have a day out and create some community bonds. The more the merrier, all ages welcome.
If you're interested, just turn up on the day or contact email@example.com